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    TracyTracy
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      From Tanganyika with Love

      continued part 8

      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

      Morogoro 20th January 1941

      Dearest Family,

      It is all arranged for us to go on three months leave to Cape Town next month so
      get out your flags. How I shall love showing off Kate and John to you and this time
      George will be with us and you’ll be able to get to know him properly. You can’t think
      what a comfort it will be to leave all the worries of baggage and tipping to him. We will all
      be travelling by ship to Durban and from there to Cape Town by train. I rather dread the
      journey because there is a fifth little Rushby on the way and, as always, I am very
      queasy.

      Kate has become such a little companion to me that I dread the thought of leaving
      her behind with you to start schooling. I miss Ann and George so much now and must
      face separation from Kate as well. There does not seem to be any alternative though.
      There is a boarding school in Arusha and another has recently been started in Mbeya,
      but both places are so far away and I know she would be very unhappy as a boarder at
      this stage. Living happily with you and attending a day school might wean her of her
      dependance upon me. As soon as this wretched war ends we mean to get Ann and
      George back home and Kate too and they can then all go to boarding school together.
      If I were a more methodical person I would try to teach Kate myself, but being a
      muddler I will have my hands full with Johnny and the new baby. Life passes pleasantly
      but quietly here. Much of my time is taken up with entertaining the children and sewing
      for them and just waiting for George to come home.

      George works so hard on these safaris and this endless elephant hunting to
      protect native crops entails so much foot safari, that he has lost a good deal of weight. it
      is more than ten years since he had a holiday so he is greatly looking forward to this one.
      Four whole months together!

      I should like to keep the ayah, Janet, for the new baby, but she says she wants
      to return to her home in the Southern Highlands Province and take a job there. She is
      unusually efficient and so clean, and the houseboy and cook are quite scared of her. She
      bawls at them if the children’s meals are served a few minutes late but she is always
      respectful towards me and practically creeps around on tiptoe when George is home.
      She has a room next to the outside kitchen. One night thieves broke into the kitchen and
      stole a few things, also a canvas chair and mat from the verandah. Ayah heard them, and
      grabbing a bit of firewood, she gave chase. Her shouts so alarmed the thieves that they
      ran off up the hill jettisoning their loot as they ran. She is a great character.

      Eleanor.

      Morogoro 30th July 1941

      Dearest Family,

      Safely back in Morogoro after a rather grim voyage from Durban. Our ship was
      completely blacked out at night and we had to sleep with warm clothing and life belts
      handy and had so many tedious boat drills. It was a nuisance being held up for a whole
      month in Durban, because I was so very pregnant when we did embark. In fact George
      suggested that I had better hide in the ‘Ladies’ until the ship sailed for fear the Captain
      might refuse to take me. It seems that the ship, on which we were originally booked to
      travel, was torpedoed somewhere off the Cape.

      We have been given a very large house this tour with a mosquito netted
      sleeping porch which will be fine for the new baby. The only disadvantage is that the
      house is on the very edge of the residential part of Morogoro and Johnny will have to
      go quite a distance to find playmates.

      I still miss Kate terribly. She is a loving little person. I had prepared for a scene
      when we said good-bye but I never expected that she would be the comforter. It
      nearly broke my heart when she put her arms around me and said, “I’m so sorry
      Mummy, please don’t cry. I’ll be good. Please don’t cry.” I’m afraid it was all very
      harrowing for you also. It is a great comfort to hear that she has settled down so happily.
      I try not to think consciously of my absent children and remind myself that there are
      thousands of mothers in the same boat, but they are always there at the back of my
      mind.

      Mother writes that Ann and George are perfectly happy and well, and that though
      German bombers do fly over fairly frequently, they are unlikely to drop their bombs on
      a small place like Jacksdale.

      George has already left on safari to the Rufiji. There was no replacement for his
      job while he was away so he is anxious to get things moving again. Johnny and I are
      going to move in with friends until he returns, just in case all the travelling around brings
      the new baby on earlier than expected.

      Eleanor.

      Morogoro 26th August 1941

      Dearest Family,

      Our new son, James Caleb. was born at 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon, with a
      minimum of fuss, in the hospital here. The Doctor was out so my friend, Sister Murray,
      delivered the baby. The Sister is a Scots girl, very efficient and calm and encouraging,
      and an ideal person to have around at such a time.

      Everything, this time, went without a hitch and I feel fine and proud of my
      bouncing son. He weighs nine pounds and ten ounces and is a big boned fellow with
      dark hair and unusually strongly marked eyebrows. His eyes are strong too and already
      seem to focus. George is delighted with him and brought Hugh Nelson to see him this
      morning. Hugh took one look, and, astonished I suppose by the baby’s apparent
      awareness, said, “Gosh, this one has been here before.” The baby’s cot is beside my
      bed so I can admire him as much as I please. He has large strong hands and George
      reckons he’ll make a good boxer some day.

      Another of my early visitors was Mabemba, George’s orderly. He is a very big
      African and looks impressive in his Game Scouts uniform. George met him years ago at
      Mahenge when he was a young elephant hunter and Mabemba was an Askari in the
      Police. Mabemba takes quite a proprietary interest in the family.

      Eleanor.

      Morogoro 25th December 1941

      Dearest Family,

      Christmas Day today, but not a gay one. I have Johnny in bed with a poisoned
      leg so he missed the children’s party at the Club. To make things a little festive I have
      put up a little Christmas tree in the children’s room and have hung up streamers and
      balloons above the beds. Johnny demands a lot of attention so it is fortunate that little
      James is such a very good baby. He sleeps all night until 6 am when his feed is due.
      One morning last week I got up as usual to feed him but I felt so dopey that I
      thought I’d better have a cold wash first. I went into the bathroom and had a hurried
      splash and then grabbed a towel to dry my face. Immediately I felt an agonising pain in
      my nose. Reason? There was a scorpion in the towel! In no time at all my nose looked
      like a pear and felt burning hot. The baby screamed with frustration whilst I feverishly
      bathed my nose and applied this and that in an effort to cool it.

      For three days my nose was very red and tender,”A real boozer nose”, said
      George. But now, thank goodness, it is back to normal.

      Some of the younger marrieds and a couple of bachelors came around,
      complete with portable harmonium, to sing carols in the early hours. No sooner had we
      settled down again to woo sleep when we were disturbed by shouts and screams from
      our nearest neighbour’s house. “Just celebrating Christmas”, grunted George, but we
      heard this morning that the neighbour had fallen down his verandah steps and broken his
      leg.

      Eleanor.

      Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

      Dearest Family,

      Well now we are eight! Our new son, Henry, was born on the night of the 28th.
      He is a beautiful baby, weighing ten pounds three and a half ounces. This baby is very
      well developed, handsome, and rather superior looking, and not at all amusing to look at
      as the other boys were.George was born with a moustache, John had a large nose and
      looked like a little old man, and Jim, bless his heart, looked rather like a baby
      chimpanzee. Henry is different. One of my visitors said, “Heaven he’ll have to be a
      Bishop!” I expect the lawn sleeves of his nightie really gave her that idea, but the baby
      does look like ‘Someone’. He is very good and George, John, and Jim are delighted
      with him, so is Mabemba.

      We have a dear little nurse looking after us. She is very petite and childish
      looking. When the baby was born and she brought him for me to see, the nurse asked
      his name. I said jokingly, “His name is Benjamin – the last of the family.” She is now very
      peeved to discover that his real name is Henry William and persists in calling him
      ‘Benjie’.I am longing to get home and into my pleasant rut. I have been away for two
      whole weeks and George is managing so well that I shall feel quite expendable if I don’t
      get home soon. As our home is a couple of miles from the hospital, I arranged to move
      in and stay with the nursing sister on the day the baby was due. There I remained for ten
      whole days before the baby was born. Each afternoon George came and took me for a
      ride in the bumpy Bedford lorry and the Doctor tried this and that but the baby refused
      to be hurried.

      On the tenth day I had the offer of a lift and decided to go home for tea and
      surprise George. It was a surprise too, because George was entertaining a young
      Game Ranger for tea and my arrival, looking like a perambulating big top, must have
      been rather embarrassing.Henry was born at the exact moment that celebrations started
      in the Township for the end of the Muslim religious festival of Ramadan. As the Doctor
      held him up by his ankles, there was the sound of hooters and firecrackers from the town.
      The baby has a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon above his left eyebrow.

      Eleanor.

      Morogoro 26th January 1944

      Dearest Family,

      We have just heard that we are to be transferred to the Headquarters of the
      Game Department at a place called Lyamungu in the Northern Province. George is not
      at all pleased because he feels that the new job will entail a good deal of office work and
      that his beloved but endless elephant hunting will be considerably curtailed. I am glad of
      that and I am looking forward to seeing a new part of Tanganyika and particularly
      Kilimanjaro which dominates Lyamungu.

      Thank goodness our menagerie is now much smaller. We found a home for the
      guinea pigs last December and Susie, our mischievous guinea-fowl, has flown off to find
      a mate.Last week I went down to Dar es Salaam for a check up by Doctor John, a
      woman doctor, leaving George to cope with the three boys. I was away two nights and
      a day and returned early in the morning just as George was giving Henry his six o’clock
      bottle. It always amazes me that so very masculine a man can do my chores with no
      effort and I have a horrible suspicion that he does them better than I do. I enjoyed the
      short break at the coast very much. I stayed with friends and we bathed in the warm sea
      and saw a good film.

      Now I suppose there will be a round of farewell parties. People in this country
      are most kind and hospitable.

      Eleanor.

      Lyamungu 20th March 1944

      Dearest Family,

      We left Morogoro after the round of farewell parties I had anticipated. The final
      one was at the Club on Saturday night. George made a most amusing speech and the
      party was a very pleasant occasion though I was rather tired after all the packing.
      Several friends gathered to wave us off on Monday morning. We had two lorries
      loaded with our goods. I rode in the cab of the first one with Henry on my knee. George
      with John and Jim rode in the second one. As there was no room for them in the cab,
      they sat on our couch which was placed across the width of the lorry behind the cab. This
      seat was not as comfortable as it sounds, because the space behind the couch was
      taken up with packing cases which were not lashed in place and these kept moving
      forward as the lorry bumped its way over the bad road.

      Soon there was hardly any leg room and George had constantly to stand up and
      push the second layer of packing cases back to prevent them from toppling over onto
      the children and himself. As it is now the rainy season the road was very muddy and
      treacherous and the lorries travelled so slowly it was dark by the time we reached
      Karogwe from where we were booked to take the train next morning to Moshi.
      Next morning we heard that there had been a washaway on the line and that the
      train would be delayed for at least twelve hours. I was not feeling well and certainly did
      not enjoy my day. Early in the afternoon Jimmy ran into a wall and blackened both his
      eyes. What a child! As the day wore on I felt worse and worse and when at last the train
      did arrive I simply crawled into my bunk whilst George coped nobly with the luggage
      and the children.

      We arrived at Moshi at breakfast time and went straight to the Lion Cub Hotel
      where I took to my bed with a high temperature. It was, of course, malaria. I always have
      my attacks at the most inopportune times. Fortunately George ran into some friends
      called Eccles and the wife Mollie came to my room and bathed Henry and prepared his
      bottle and fed him. George looked after John and Jim. Next day I felt much better and
      we drove out to Lyamungu the day after. There we had tea with the Game Warden and
      his wife before moving into our new home nearby.

      The Game Warden is Captain Monty Moore VC. He came out to Africa
      originally as an Officer in the King’s African Rifles and liked the country so much he left the
      Army and joined the Game Department. He was stationed at Banagi in the Serengetti
      Game Reserve and is well known for his work with the lions there. He particularly tamed
      some of the lions by feeding them so that they would come out into the open and could
      readily be photographed by tourists. His wife Audrey, has written a book about their
      experiences at Banagi. It is called “Serengetti”

      Our cook, Hamisi, soon had a meal ready for us and we all went to bed early.
      This is a very pleasant house and I know we will be happy here. I still feel a little shaky
      but that is the result of all the quinine I have taken. I expect I shall feel fine in a day or two.

      Eleanor.

      Lyamungu 15th May 1944

      Dearest Family,

      Well, here we are settled comfortably in our very nice house. The house is
      modern and roomy, and there is a large enclosed verandah, which will be a Godsend in
      the wet weather as a playroom for the children. The only drawback is that there are so
      many windows to be curtained and cleaned. The grounds consist of a very large lawn
      and a few beds of roses and shrubs. It is an ideal garden for children, unlike our steeply
      terraced garden at Morogoro.

      Lyamungu is really the Government Coffee Research Station. It is about sixteen
      miles from the town of Moshi which is the centre of the Tanganyika coffee growing
      industry. Lyamungu, which means ‘place of God’ is in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro and
      we have a beautiful view of Kilimanjaro. Kibo, the more spectacular of the two mountain
      peaks, towers above us, looking from this angle, like a giant frosted plum pudding. Often the mountain is veiled by cloud and mist which sometimes comes down to
      our level so that visibility is practically nil. George dislikes both mist and mountain but I
      like both and so does John. He in fact saw Kibo before I did. On our first day here, the
      peak was completely hidden by cloud. In the late afternoon when the children were
      playing on the lawn outside I was indoors hanging curtains. I heard John call out, “Oh
      Mummy, isn’t it beautiful!” I ran outside and there, above a scarf of cloud, I saw the
      showy dome of Kibo with the setting sun shining on it tingeing the snow pink. It was an
      unforgettable experience.

      As this is the rainy season, the surrounding country side is very lush and green.
      Everywhere one sees the rich green of the coffee plantations and the lighter green of
      the banana groves. Unfortunately our walks are rather circumscribed. Except for the main road to Moshi, there is nowhere to walk except through the Government coffee
      plantation. Paddy, our dog, thinks life is pretty boring as there is no bush here and
      nothing to hunt. There are only half a dozen European families here and half of those are
      on very distant terms with the other half which makes the station a rather uncomfortable
      one.

      The coffee expert who runs this station is annoyed because his European staff
      has been cut down owing to the war, and three of the vacant houses and some office
      buildings have been taken over temporarily by the Game Department. Another house
      has been taken over by the head of the Labour Department. However I don’t suppose
      the ill feeling will effect us much. We are so used to living in the bush that we are not
      socially inclined any way.

      Our cook, Hamisi, came with us from Morogoro but I had to engage a new
      houseboy and kitchenboy. I first engaged a houseboy who produced a wonderful ‘chit’
      in which his previous employer describes him as his “friend and confidant”. I felt rather
      dubious about engaging him and how right I was. On his second day with us I produced
      some of Henry’s napkins, previously rinsed by me, and asked this boy to wash them.
      He looked most offended and told me that it was beneath his dignity to do women’s
      work. We parted immediately with mutual relief.

      Now I have a good natured fellow named Japhet who, though hard on crockery,
      is prepared to do anything and loves playing with the children. He is a local boy, a
      member of the Chagga tribe. These Chagga are most intelligent and, on the whole, well
      to do as they all have their own small coffee shambas. Japhet tells me that his son is at
      the Uganda University College studying medicine.The kitchen boy is a tall youth called
      Tovelo, who helps both Hamisi, the cook, and the houseboy and also keeps an eye on
      Henry when I am sewing. I still make all the children’s clothes and my own. Life is
      pleasant but dull. George promises that he will take the whole family on safari when
      Henry is a little older.

      Eleanor.

      Lyamungu 18th July 1944

      Dearest Family,

      Life drifts quietly by at Lyamungu with each day much like the one before – or
      they would be, except that the children provide the sort of excitement that prohibits
      boredom. Of the three boys our Jim is the best at this. Last week Jim wandered into the
      coffee plantation beside our house and chewed some newly spayed berries. Result?
      A high temperature and nasty, bloody diarrhoea, so we had to rush him to the hospital at
      Moshi for treatment. however he was well again next day and George went off on safari.
      That night there was another crisis. As the nights are now very cold, at this high
      altitude, we have a large fire lit in the living room and the boy leaves a pile of logs
      beside the hearth so that I can replenish the fire when necessary. Well that night I took
      Henry off to bed, leaving John and Jim playing in the living room. When their bedtime
      came, I called them without leaving the bedroom. When I had tucked John and Jim into
      bed, I sat reading a bedtime story as I always do. Suddenly I saw smoke drifting
      through the door, and heard a frightening rumbling noise. Japhet rushed in to say that the
      lounge chimney was on fire! Picture me, panic on the inside and sweet smile on the
      outside, as I picked Henry up and said to the other two, “There’s nothing to be
      frightened about chaps, but get up and come outside for a bit.” Stupid of me to be so
      heroic because John and Jim were not at all scared but only too delighted at the chance
      of rushing about outside in the dark. The fire to them was just a bit of extra fun.

      We hurried out to find one boy already on the roof and the other passing up a
      brimming bucket of water. Other boys appeared from nowhere and soon cascades of
      water were pouring down the chimney. The result was a mountain of smouldering soot
      on the hearth and a pool of black water on the living room floor. However the fire was out
      and no serious harm done because all the floors here are cement and another stain on
      the old rug will hardly be noticed. As the children reluctantly returned to bed John
      remarked smugly, “I told Jim not to put all the wood on the fire at once but he wouldn’t
      listen.” I might have guessed!

      However it was not Jim but John who gave me the worst turn of all this week. As
      a treat I decided to take the boys to the river for a picnic tea. The river is not far from our
      house but we had never been there before so I took the kitchen boy, Tovelo, to show
      us the way. The path is on the level until one is in sight of the river when the bank slopes
      steeply down. I decided that it was too steep for the pram so I stopped to lift Henry out
      and carry him. When I looked around I saw John running down the slope towards the
      river. The stream is not wide but flows swiftly and I had no idea how deep it was. All I
      knew was that it was a trout stream. I called for John, “Stop, wait for me!” but he ran on
      and made for a rude pole bridge which spanned the river. He started to cross and then,
      to my horror, I saw John slip. There was a splash and he disappeared under the water. I
      just dumped the baby on the ground, screamed to the boy to mind him and ran madly
      down the slope to the river. Suddenly I saw John’s tight fitting felt hat emerge, then his
      eyes and nose. I dashed into the water and found, to my intense relief, that it only
      reached up to my shoulders but, thank heaven no further. John’s steady eyes watched
      me trustingly as I approached him and carried him safely to the bank. He had been
      standing on a rock and had not panicked at all though he had to stand up very straight
      and tall to keep his nose out of water. I was too proud of him to scold him for
      disobedience and too wet anyway.

      I made John undress and put on two spare pullovers and wrapped Henry’s
      baby blanket round his waist like a sarong. We made a small fire over which I crouched
      with literally chattering teeth whilst Tovelo ran home to fetch a coat for me and dry clothes
      for John.

      Eleanor.

      Lyamungu 16th August 1944

      Dearest Family,

      We have a new bull terrier bitch pup whom we have named Fanny III . So once
      more we have a menagerie , the two dogs, two cats Susie and Winnie, and
      some pet hens who live in the garage and are a real nuisance.

      As John is nearly six I thought it time that he started lessons and wrote off to Dar
      es Salaam for the correspondence course. We have had one week of lessons and I am
      already in a state of physical and mental exhaustion. John is a most reluctant scholar.
      “Why should I learn to read, when you can read to me?” he asks, and “Anyway why
      should I read such stupid stuff, ‘Run Rover Run’, and ‘Mother play with baby’ . Who
      wants to read about things like that? I don’t.”

      He rather likes sums, but the only subject about which he is enthusiastic is
      prehistoric history. He laps up information about ‘The Tree Dwellers’, though he is very
      sceptical about the existence of such people. “God couldn’t be so silly to make people
      so stupid. Fancy living in trees when it is easy to make huts like the natives.” ‘The Tree
      Dwellers is a highly imaginative story about a revolting female called Sharptooth and her
      offspring called Bodo. I have a very clear mental image of Sharptooth, so it came as a
      shock to me and highly amused George when John looked at me reflectively across the
      tea table and said, “Mummy I expect Sharptooth looked like you. You have a sharp
      tooth too!” I have, my eye teeth are rather sharp, but I hope the resemblance stops
      there.

      John has an uncomfortably logical mind for a small boy. The other day he was
      lying on the lawn staring up at the clouds when he suddenly muttered “I don’t believe it.”
      “Believe what?” I asked. “That Jesus is coming on a cloud one day. How can he? The
      thick ones always stay high up. What’s he going to do, jump down with a parachute?”
      Tovelo, my kitchen boy, announced one evening that his grandmother was in the
      kitchen and wished to see me. She was a handsome and sensible Chagga woman who
      brought sad news. Her little granddaughter had stumbled backwards into a large cooking
      pot of almost boiling maize meal porridge and was ‘ngongwa sana’ (very ill). I grabbed
      a large bottle of Picric Acid and a packet of gauze which we keep for these emergencies
      and went with her, through coffee shambas and banana groves to her daughter’s house.
      Inside the very neat thatched hut the mother sat with the naked child lying face
      downwards on her knee. The child’s buttocks and the back of her legs were covered in
      huge burst blisters from which a watery pus dripped. It appeared that the accident had
      happened on the previous day.

      I could see that it was absolutely necessary to clean up the damaged area, and I
      suddenly remembered that there was a trained African hospital dresser on the station. I
      sent the father to fetch him and whilst the dresser cleaned off the sloughed skin with
      forceps and swabs saturated in Picric Acid, I cut the gauze into small squares which I
      soaked in the lotion and laid on the cleaned area. I thought the small pieces would be
      easier to change especially as the whole of the most tender parts, front and back, were
      badly scalded. The child seemed dazed and neither the dresser nor I thought she would
      live. I gave her half an aspirin and left three more half tablets to be given four hourly.
      Next day she seemed much brighter. I poured more lotion on the gauze
      disturbing as few pieces as possible and again the next day and the next. After a week
      the skin was healing well and the child eating normally. I am sure she will be all right now.
      The new skin is a brilliant red and very shiny but it is pale round the edges of the burnt
      area and will I hope later turn brown. The mother never uttered a word of thanks, but the
      granny is grateful and today brought the children a bunch of bananas.

      Eleanor.

      c/o Game Dept. P.O.Moshi. 29th September 1944

      Dearest Mummy,

      I am so glad that you so enjoyed my last letter with the description of our very
      interesting and enjoyable safari through Masailand. You said you would like an even
      fuller description of it to pass around amongst the relations, so, to please you, I have
      written it out in detail and enclose the result.

      We have spent a quiet week after our exertions and all are well here.

      Very much love,
      Eleanor.

      Safari in Masailand

      George and I were at tea with our three little boys on the front lawn of our house
      in Lyamungu, Northern Tanganyika. It was John’s sixth birthday and he and Jim, a
      happy sturdy three year old, and Henry, aged eleven months, were munching the
      squares of plain chocolate which rounded off the party, when George said casually
      across the table to me, “Could you be ready by the day after tomorrow to go on
      safari?” “Me too?” enquired John anxiously, before I had time to reply, and “Me too?”
      echoed Jim. “yes, of course I can”, said I to George and “of course you’re coming too”,
      to the children who rate a day spent in the bush higher than any other pleasure.
      So in the early morning two days later, we started out happily for Masailand in a
      three ton Ford lorry loaded to capacity with the five Rushbys, the safari paraphernalia,
      drums of petrol and quite a retinue of servants and Game Scouts. George travelling
      alone on his monthly safaris, takes only the cook and a couple of Game Scouts, but this was to be a safari de luxe.

      Henry and I shared the cab with George who was driving, whilst John and Jim
      with the faithful orderly Mabemba beside them to point out the game animals, were
      installed upon rolls of bedding in the body of the lorry. The lorry lumbered along, first
      through coffee shambas, and then along the main road between Moshi and Arusha.
      After half an hour or so, we turned South off the road into a track which crossed the
      Sanya Plains and is the beginning of this part of Masailand. Though the dry season was
      at its height, and the pasture dry and course, we were soon passing small groups of
      game. This area is a Game Sanctuary and the antelope grazed quietly quite undisturbed
      by the passing lorry. Here and there zebra stood bunched by the road, a few wild
      ostriches stalked jerkily by, and in the distance some wildebeest cavorted around in their
      crazy way.

      Soon the grasslands gave way to thorn bush, and we saw six fantastically tall
      giraffe standing motionless with their heads turned enquiringly towards us. George
      stopped the lorry so the children could have a good view of them. John was enchanted
      but Jim, alas, was asleep.

      At mid day we reached the Kikoletwa River and turned aside to camp. Beside
      the river, under huge leafy trees, there was a beautiful camping spot, but the river was
      deep and reputed to be full of crocodiles so we passed it by and made our camp
      some distance from the river under a tall thorn tree with a flat lacy canopy. All around the
      camp lay uprooted trees of similar size that had been pushed over by elephants. As
      soon as the lorry stopped a camp chair was set up for me and the Game Scouts quickly
      slashed down grass and cleared the camp site of thorns. The same boys then pitched the tent whilst George himself set up the three camp beds and the folding cot for Henry,
      and set up the safari table and the canvas wash bowl and bath.

      The cook in the meantime had cleared a cool spot for the kitchen , opened up the
      chop boxes and started a fire. The cook’s boy and the dhobi (laundry boy) brought
      water from the rather muddy river and tea was served followed shortly afterward by an
      excellent lunch. In a very short time the camp had a suprisingly homely look. Nappies
      fluttered from a clothes line, Henry slept peacefully in his cot, John and Jim sprawled on
      one bed looking at comics, and I dozed comfortably on another.

      George, with the Game Scouts, drove off in the lorry about his work. As a Game
      Ranger it is his business to be on a constant look out for poachers, both African and
      European, and for disease in game which might infect the valuable herds of Masai cattle.
      The lorry did not return until dusk by which time the children had bathed enthusiastically in
      the canvas bath and were ready for supper and bed. George backed the lorry at right
      angles to the tent, Henry’s cot and two camp beds were set up in the lorry, the tarpaulin
      was lashed down and the children put to bed in their novel nursery.

      When darkness fell a large fire was lit in front of the camp, the exited children at
      last fell asleep and George and I sat on by the fire enjoying the cool and quiet night.
      When the fire subsided into a bed of glowing coals, it was time for our bed. During the
      night I was awakened by the sound of breaking branches and strange indescribable
      noises.” Just elephant”, said George comfortably and instantly fell asleep once more. I
      didn’t! We rose with the birds next morning, but breakfast was ready and in a
      remarkably short time the lorry had been reloaded and we were once more on our way.
      For about half a mile we made our own track across the plain and then we turned
      into the earth road once more. Soon we had reached the river and were looking with
      dismay at the suspension bridge which we had to cross. At the far side, one steel
      hawser was missing and there the bridge tilted dangerously. There was no handrail but
      only heavy wooden posts which marked the extremities of the bridge. WhenGeorge
      measured the distance between the posts he found that there could be barely two
      inches to spare on either side of the cumbersome lorry.

      He decided to risk crossing, but the children and I and all the servants were told to
      cross the bridge and go down the track out of sight. The Game Scouts remained on the
      river bank on the far side of the bridge and stood ready for emergencies. As I walked
      along anxiously listening, I was horrified to hear the lorry come to a stop on the bridge.
      There was a loud creaking noise and I instantly visualised the lorry slowly toppling over
      into the deep crocodile infested river. The engine restarted, the lorry crossed the bridge
      and came slowly into sight around the bend. My heart slid back into its normal position.
      George was as imperturbable as ever and simply remarked that it had been a near
      thing and that we would return to Lyamungu by another route.

      Beyond the green river belt the very rutted track ran through very uninteresting
      thorn bush country. Henry was bored and tiresome, jumping up and down on my knee
      and yelling furiously. “Teeth”, said I apologetically to George, rashly handing a match
      box to Henry to keep him quiet. No use at all! With a fat finger he poked out the tray
      spilling the matches all over me and the floor. Within seconds Henry had torn the
      matchbox to pieces with his teeth and flung the battered remains through the window.
      An empty cigarette box met with the same fate as the match box and the yells
      continued unabated until Henry slept from sheer exhaustion. George gave me a smile,
      half sympathetic and half sardonic, “Enjoying the safari, my love?” he enquired. On these
      trying occasions George has the inestimable advantage of being able to go into a Yogilike
      trance, whereas I become irritated to screaming point.

      In an effort to prolong Henry’s slumber I braced my feet against the floor boards
      and tried to turn myself into a human shock absorber as we lurched along the eroded
      track. Several times my head made contact with the bolt of a rifle in the rack above, and
      once I felt I had shattered my knee cap against the fire extinguisher in a bracket under the
      dash board.

      Strange as it may seem, I really was enjoying the trip in spite of these
      discomforts. At last after three years I was once more on safari with George. This type of
      country was new to me and there was so much to see We passed a family of giraffe
      standing in complete immobility only a few yards from the track. Little dick-dick. one of the smallest of the antelope, scuttled in pairs across the road and that afternoon I had my first view of Gerenuk, curious red brown antelope with extremely elongated legs and giraffe-like necks.

      Most interesting of all was my first sight of Masai at home. We could hear a tuneful
      jangle of cattle bells and suddenly came across herds of humped cattle browsing upon
      the thorn bushes. The herds were guarded by athletic,striking looking Masai youths and men.
      Each had a calabash of water slung over his shoulder and a tall, highly polished spear in his
      hand. These herdsmen were quite unselfconscious though they wore no clothing except for one carelessly draped blanket. Very few gave us any greeting but glanced indifferently at us from under fringes of clay-daubed plaited hair . The rest of their hair was drawn back behind the ears to display split earlobes stretched into slender loops by the weight of heavy brass or copper tribal ear rings.

      Most of the villages were set well back in the bush out of sight of the road but we did pass one
      typical village which looked most primitive indeed. It consisted simply of a few mound like mud huts which were entirely covered with a plaster of mud and cattle dung and the whole clutch of huts were surrounded by a ‘boma’ of thorn to keep the cattle in at night and the lions out. There was a gathering of women and children on the road at this point. The children of both sexes were naked and unadorned, but the women looked very fine indeed. This is not surprising for they have little to do but adorn themselves, unlike their counterparts of other tribes who have to work hard cultivating the fields. The Masai women, and others I saw on safari, were far more amiable and cheerful looking than the men and were well proportioned.

      They wore skirts of dressed goat skin, knee length in front but ankle length behind. Their arms
      from elbow to wrist, and legs from knee to ankle, were encased in tight coils of copper and
      galvanised wire. All had their heads shaved and in some cases bound by a leather band
      embroidered in red white and blue beads. Circular ear rings hung from slit earlobes and their
      handsome throats were encircled by stiff wire necklaces strung with brightly coloured beads. These
      necklaces were carefully graded in size and formed deep collars almost covering their breasts.
      About a quarter of a mile further along the road we met eleven young braves in gala attire, obviously on their way to call on the girls. They formed a line across the road and danced up and down until the lorry was dangerously near when they parted and grinned cheerfully at us. These were the only cheerful
      looking male Masai that I saw. Like the herdsmen these youths wore only a blanket, but their
      blankets were ochre colour, and elegantly draped over their backs. Their naked bodies gleamed with oil. Several had painted white stripes on their faces, and two had whitewashed their faces entirely which I
      thought a pity. All had their long hair elaborately dressed and some carried not only one,
      but two gleaming spears.

      By mid day George decided that we had driven far enough for that day. He
      stopped the lorry and consulted a rather unreliable map. “Somewhere near here is a
      place called Lolbeni,” he said. “The name means Sweet Water, I hear that the
      government have piped spring water down from the mountain into a small dam at which
      the Masai water their cattle.” Lolbeni sounded pleasant to me. Henry was dusty and
      cross, the rubber sheet had long slipped from my lap to the floor and I was conscious of
      a very damp lap. ‘Sweet Waters’ I felt, would put all that right. A few hundred yards
      away a small herd of cattle was grazing, so George lit his pipe and relaxed at last, whilst
      a Game Scout went off to find the herdsman. The scout soon returned with an ancient
      and emaciated Masai who was thrilled at the prospect of his first ride in a lorry and
      offered to direct us to Lolbeni which was off the main track and about four miles away.

      Once Lolbeni had been a small administrative post and a good track had
      led to it, but now the Post had been abandoned and the road is dotted with vigourous
      thorn bushes and the branches of larger thorn trees encroach on the track The road had
      deteriorated to a mere cattle track, deeply rutted and eroded by heavy rains over a
      period of years. The great Ford truck, however, could take it. It lurched victoriously along,
      mowing down the obstructions, tearing off branches from encroaching thorn trees with its
      high railed sides, spanning gorges in the track, and climbing in and out of those too wide
      to span. I felt an army tank could not have done better.

      I had expected Lolbeni to be a green oasis in a desert of grey thorns, but I was
      quickly disillusioned. To be sure the thorn trees were larger and more widely spaced and
      provided welcome shade, but the ground under the trees had been trampled by thousands of cattle into a dreary expanse of dirty grey sand liberally dotted with cattle droppings and made still more uninviting by the bleached bones of dead beasts.

      To the right of this waste rose a high green hill which gave the place its name and from which
      the precious water was piped, but its slopes were too steep to provide a camping site.
      Flies swarmed everywhere and I was most relieved when George said that we would
      stay only long enough to fill our cans with water. Even the water was a disappointment!
      The water in the small dam was low and covered by a revolting green scum, and though
      the water in the feeding pipe was sweet, it trickled so feebly that it took simply ages to
      fill a four gallon can.

      However all these disappointments were soon forgotten for we drove away
      from the flies and dirt and trampled sand and soon, with their quiet efficiency, George
      and his men set up a comfortable camp. John and Jim immediately started digging
      operations in the sandy soil whilst Henry and I rested. After tea George took his shot
      gun and went off to shoot guinea fowl and partridges for the pot. The children and I went
      walking, keeping well in site of camp, and soon we saw a very large flock of Vulturine
      Guineafowl, running aimlessly about and looking as tame as barnyard fowls, but melting
      away as soon as we moved in their direction.

      We had our second quiet and lovely evening by the camp fire, followed by a
      peaceful night.

      We left Lolbeni very early next morning, which was a good thing, for as we left
      camp the herds of thirsty cattle moved in from all directions. They were accompanied by
      Masai herdsmen, their naked bodies and blankets now covered by volcanic dust which
      was being stirred in rising clouds of stifling ash by the milling cattle, and also by grey
      donkeys laden with panniers filled with corked calabashes for water.

      Our next stop was Nabarera, a Masai cattle market and trading centre, where we
      reluctantly stayed for two days in a pokey Goverment Resthouse because George had
      a job to do in that area. The rest was good for Henry who promptly produced a tooth
      and was consequently much better behaved for the rest of the trip. George was away in the bush most of the day but he returned for afternoon tea and later took the children out
      walking. We had noticed curious white dumps about a quarter mile from the resthouse
      and on the second afternoon we set out to investigate them. Behind the dumps we
      found passages about six foot wide, cut through solid limestone. We explored two of
      these and found that both passages led steeply down to circular wells about two and a
      half feet in diameter.

      At the very foot of each passage, beside each well, rough drinking troughs had
      been cut in the stone. The herdsmen haul the water out of the well in home made hide
      buckets, the troughs are filled and the cattle driven down the ramps to drink at the trough.
      It was obvious that the wells were ancient and the sloping passages new. George tells
      me that no one knows what ancient race dug the original wells. It seems incredible that
      these deep and narrow shafts could have been sunk without machinery. I craned my
      neck and looked above one well and could see an immensely long shaft reaching up to
      ground level. Small footholds were cut in the solid rock as far as I could see.
      It seems that the Masai are as ignorant as ourselves about the origin of these
      wells. They do say however that when their forebears first occupied what is now known
      as Masailand, they not only found the Wanderobo tribe in the area but also a light
      skinned people and they think it possible that these light skinned people dug the wells.
      These people disappeared. They may have been absorbed or, more likely, they were
      liquidated.

      The Masai had found the well impractical in their original form and had hired
      labourers from neighbouring tribes to cut the passages to water level. Certainly the Masai are not responsible for the wells. They are a purely pastoral people and consider manual labour extremely degrading.

      They live chiefly on milk from their herd which they allow to go sour, and mix with blood that has been skilfully tapped from the necks of living cattle. They do not eat game meat, nor do they cultivate any
      land. They hunt with spears, but hunt only lions, to protect their herds, and to test the skill
      and bravery of their young warriors. What little grain they do eat is transported into
      Masailand by traders. The next stage of our journey took us to Ngassamet where
      George was to pick up some elephant tusks. I had looked forward particularly to this
      stretch of road for I had heard that there was a shallow lake at which game congregates,
      and at which I had great hopes of seeing elephants. We had come too late in the
      season though, the lake was dry and there were only piles of elephant droppings to
      prove that elephant had recently been there in numbers. Ngassamet, though no beauty
      spot, was interesting. We saw more elaborate editions of the wells already described, and as this area
      is rich in cattle we saw the aristocrats of the Masai. You cannot conceive of a more arrogant looking male than a young Masai brave striding by on sandalled feet, unselfconscious in all his glory. All the young men wore the casually draped traditional ochre blanket and carried one or more spears. But here belts and long knife sheaths of scarlet leather seem to be the fashion. Here fringes do not seem to be the thing. Most of these young Masai had their hair drawn smoothly back and twisted in a pointed queue, the whole plastered with a smooth coating of red clay. Some tied their horn shaped queues over their heads
      so that the tip formed a deep Satanic peak on the brow. All these young men wore the traditional
      copper earrings and I saw one or two with copper bracelets and one with a necklace of brightly coloured
      beads.

      It so happened that, on the day of our visit to Ngassamet, there had been a
      baraza (meeting) which was attended by all the local headmen and elders. These old
      men came to pay their respects to George and a more shrewd and rascally looking
      company I have never seen, George told me that some of these men own up to three
      thousand head of cattle and more. The chief was as fat and Rabelasian as his second in
      command was emaciated, bucktoothed and prim. The Chief shook hands with George
      and greeted me and settled himself on the wall of the resthouse porch opposite
      George. The lesser headmen, after politely greeting us, grouped themselves in a
      semi circle below the steps with their ‘aides’ respectfully standing behind them. I
      remained sitting in the only chair and watched the proceedings with interest and
      amusement.

      These old Masai, I noticed, cared nothing for adornment. They had proved
      themselves as warriors in the past and were known to be wealthy and influential so did
      not need to make any display. Most of them had their heads comfortably shaved and
      wore only a drab blanket or goatskin cloak. Their only ornaments were earrings whose
      effect was somewhat marred by the serviceable and homely large safety pin that
      dangled from the lobe of one ear. All carried staves instead of spears and all, except for
      Buckteeth and one blind old skeleton of a man, appeared to have a keenly developed
      sense of humour.

      “Mummy?” asked John in an urgent whisper, “Is that old blind man nearly dead?”
      “Yes dear”, said I, “I expect he’ll soon die.” “What here?” breathed John in a tone of
      keen anticipation and, until the meeting broke up and the old man left, he had John’s
      undivided attention.

      After local news and the game situation had been discussed, the talk turned to the
      war. “When will the war end?” moaned the fat Chief. “We have made great gifts of cattle
      to the War Funds, we are taxed out of existence.” George replied with the Ki-Swahili
      equivalent of ‘Sez you!’. This sally was received with laughter and the old fellows rose to
      go. They made their farewells and dignified exits, pausing on their way to stare at our
      pink and white Henry, who sat undismayed in his push chair giving them stare for stare
      from his striking grey eyes.

      Towards evening some Masai, prompted no doubt by our native servants,
      brought a sheep for sale. It was the last night of the fast of Ramadan and our
      Mohammedan boys hoped to feast next day at our expense. Their faces fell when
      George refused to buy the animal. “Why should I pay fifteen shillings for a sheep?” he
      asked, “Am I not the Bwana Nyama and is not the bush full of my sheep?” (Bwana
      Nyama is the native name for a Game Ranger, but means literally, ‘Master of the meat’)
      George meant that he would shoot a buck for the men next day, but this incident was to
      have a strange sequel. Ngassamet resthouse consists of one room so small we could
      not put up all our camp beds and George and I slept on the cement floor which was
      unkind to my curves. The night was bitterly cold and all night long hyaenas screeched
      hideously outside. So we rose at dawn without reluctance and were on our way before it
      was properly light.

      George had decided that it would be foolhardy to return home by our outward
      route as he did not care to risk another crossing of the suspension bridge. So we
      returned to Nabarera and there turned onto a little used track which would eventually take
      us to the Great North Road a few miles South of Arusha. There was not much game
      about but I saw Oryx which I had not previously seen. Soon it grew intolerably hot and I
      think all of us but George were dozing when he suddenly stopped the lorry and pointed
      to the right. “Mpishi”, he called to the cook, “There’s your sheep!” True enough, on that
      dreary thorn covered plain,with not another living thing in sight, stood a fat black sheep.

      There was an incredulous babbling from the back of the lorry. Every native
      jumped to the ground and in no time at all the wretched sheep was caught and
      slaughtered. I felt sick. “Oh George”, I wailed, “The poor lost sheep! I shan’t eat a scrap
      of it.” George said nothing but went and had a look at the sheep and called out to me,
      “Come and look at it. It was kindness to kill the poor thing, the vultures have been at it
      already and the hyaenas would have got it tonight.” I went reluctantly and saw one eye
      horribly torn out, and small deep wounds on the sheep’s back where the beaks of the
      vultures had cut through the heavy fleece. Poor thing! I went back to the lorry more
      determined than ever not to eat mutton on that trip. The Scouts and servants had no
      such scruples. The fine fat sheep had been sent by Allah for their feast day and that was
      the end of it.

      “ ‘Mpishi’ is more convinced than ever that I am a wizard”, said George in
      amusement as he started the lorry. I knew what he meant. Several times before George
      had foretold something which had later happened. Pure coincidence, but strange enough
      to give rise to a legend that George had the power to arrange things. “What happened
      of course”, explained George, “Is that a flock of Masai sheep was driven to market along
      this track yesterday or the day before. This one strayed and was not missed.”

      The day grew hotter and hotter and for long miles we looked out for a camping
      spot but could find little shade and no trace of water anywhere. At last, in the early
      afternoon we reached another pokey little rest house and asked for water. “There is no
      water here,” said the native caretaker. “Early in the morning there is water in a well nearby
      but we are allowed only one kerosene tin full and by ten o’clock the well is dry.” I looked
      at George in dismay for we were all so tired and dusty. “Where do the Masai from the
      village water their cattle then?” asked George. “About two miles away through the bush.
      If you take me with you I shall show you”, replied the native.

      So we turned off into the bush and followed a cattle track even more tortuous than
      the one to Lolbeni. Two Scouts walked ahead to warn us of hazards and I stretched my
      arm across the open window to fend off thorns. Henry screamed with fright and hunger.
      But George’s efforts to reach water went unrewarded as we were brought to a stop by
      a deep donga. The native from the resthouse was apologetic. He had mistaken the
      path, perhaps if we turned back we might find it. George was beyond speech. We
      lurched back the way we had come and made our camp under the first large tree we
      could find. Then off went our camp boys on foot to return just before dark with the water.
      However they were cheerful for there was an unlimited quantity of dry wood for their fires
      and meat in plenty for their feast. Long after George and I left our campfire and had gone
      to bed, we could see the cheerful fires of the boys and hear their chatter and laughter.
      I woke in the small hours to hear the insane cackling of hyaenas gloating over a
      find. Later I heard scuffling around the camp table, I peered over the tailboard of the lorry
      and saw George come out of his tent. What are you doing?” I whispered. “Looking for
      something to throw at those bloody hyaenas,” answered George for all the world as
      though those big brutes were tomcats on the prowl. Though the hyaenas kept up their
      concert all night the children never stirred, nor did any of them wake at night throughout
      the safari.

      Early next morning I walked across to the camp kitchen to enquire into the loud
      lamentations coming from that quarter. “Oh Memsahib”, moaned the cook, “We could
      not sleep last night for the bad hyaenas round our tents. They have taken every scrap of
      meat we had left over from the feast., even the meat we had left to smoke over the fire.”
      Jim, who of our three young sons is the cook’s favourite commiserated with him. He said
      in Ki-Swahili, which he speaks with great fluency, “Truly those hyaenas are very bad
      creatures. They also robbed us. They have taken my hat from the table and eaten the
      new soap from the washbowl.

      Our last day in the bush was a pleasantly lazy one. We drove through country
      that grew more open and less dry as we approached Arusha. We pitched our camp
      near a large dam, and the water was a blessed sight after a week of scorched country.
      On the plains to the right of our camp was a vast herd of native cattle enjoying a brief
      rest after their long day trek through Masailand. They were destined to walk many more
      weary miles before reaching their destination, a meat canning factory in Kenya.
      The ground to the left of the camp rose gently to form a long low hill and on the
      grassy slopes we could see wild ostriches and herds of wildebeest, zebra and
      antelope grazing amicably side by side. In the late afternoon I watched the groups of
      zebra and wildebeest merge into one. Then with a wildebeest leading, they walked
      down the slope in single file to drink at the vlei . When they were satisfied, a wildebeest
      once more led the herd up the trail. The others followed in a long and orderly file, and
      vanished over the hill to their evening pasture.

      When they had gone, George took up his shotgun and invited John to
      accompany him to the dam to shoot duck. This was the first time John had acted as
      retriever but he did very well and proudly helped to carry a mixed bag of sand grouse
      and duck back to camp.

      Next morning we turned into the Great North Road and passed first through
      carefully tended coffee shambas and then through the township of Arusha, nestling at
      the foot of towering Mount Meru. Beyond Arusha we drove through the Usa River
      settlement where again coffee shambas and European homesteads line the road, and
      saw before us the magnificent spectacle of Kilimanjaro unveiled, its white snow cap
      gleaming in the sunlight. Before mid day we were home. “Well was it worth it?” enquired
      George at lunch. “Lovely,” I replied. ”Let’s go again soon.” Then thinking regretfully of
      our absent children I sighed, “If only Ann, George, and Kate could have gone with us
      too.”

      Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

      Dearest Family.

      Mummy wants to know how I fill in my time with George away on safari for weeks
      on end. I do believe that you all picture me idling away my days, waited on hand and
      foot by efficient servants! On the contrary, life is one rush and the days never long
      enough.

      To begin with, our servants are anything but efficient, apart from our cook, Hamisi
      Issa, who really is competent. He suffers from frustration because our budget will not run
      to elaborate dishes so there is little scope for his culinary art. There is one masterpiece
      which is much appreciated by John and Jim. Hamisi makes a most realistic crocodile out
      of pastry and stuffs its innards with minced meat. This revolting reptile is served on a
      bed of parsley on my largest meat dish. The cook is a strict Mohammedan and
      observes all the fasts and daily prayers and, like all Mohammedans he is very clean in
      his person and, thank goodness, in the kitchen.

      His wife is his pride and joy but not his helpmate. She does absolutely nothing
      but sit in a chair in the sun all day, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes – a more
      expensive brand than mine! It is Hamisi who sweeps out their quarters, cooks
      delectable curries for her, and spends more than he can afford on clothing and trinkets for
      his wife. She just sits there with her ‘Mona Lisa’ smile and her painted finger and toe
      nails, doing absolutely nothing.

      The thing is that natives despise women who do work and this applies especially
      to their white employers. House servants much prefer a Memsahib who leaves
      everything to them and is careless about locking up her pantry. When we first came to
      Lyamungu I had great difficulty in employing a houseboy. A couple of rather efficient
      ones did approach me but when they heard the wages I was prepared to pay and that
      there was no number 2 boy, they simply were not interested. Eventually I took on a
      local boy called Japhet who suits me very well except that his sight is not good and he
      is extremely hard on the crockery. He tells me that he has lost face by working here
      because his friends say that he works for a family that is too mean to employ a second
      boy. I explained that with our large family we simply cannot afford to pay more, but this
      didn’t register at all. Japhet says “But Wazungu (Europeans) all have money. They just
      have to get it from the Bank.”

      The third member of our staff is a strapping youth named Tovelo who helps both
      cook and boy, and consequently works harder than either. What do I do? I chivvy the
      servants, look after the children, supervise John’s lessons, and make all my clothing and
      the children’s on that blessed old hand sewing machine.

      The folk on this station entertain a good deal but we usually decline invitations
      because we simply cannot afford to reciprocate. However, last Saturday night I invited
      two couples to drinks and dinner. This was such an unusual event that the servants and I
      were thrown into a flurry. In the end the dinner went off well though it ended in disaster. In
      spite of my entreaties and exhortations to Japhet not to pile everything onto the tray at
      once when clearing the table, he did just that. We were starting our desert and I was
      congratulating myself that all had gone well when there was a frightful crash of breaking
      china on the back verandah. I excused myself and got up to investigate. A large meat
      dish, six dinner plates and four vegetable dishes lay shattered on the cement floor! I
      controlled my tongue but what my eyes said to Japhet is another matter. What he said
      was, “It is not my fault Memsahib. The handle of the tray came off.”

      It is a curious thing about native servants that they never accept responsibility for
      a mishap. If they cannot pin their misdeeds onto one of their fellow servants then the responsibility rests with God. ‘Shauri ya Mungu’, (an act of God) is a familiar cry. Fatalists
      can be very exasperating employees.

      The loss of my dinner service is a real tragedy because, being war time, one can
      buy only china of the poorest quality made for the native trade. Nor was that the final
      disaster of the evening. When we moved to the lounge for coffee I noticed that the
      coffee had been served in the battered old safari coffee pot instead of the charming little
      antique coffee pot which my Mother-in-law had sent for our tenth wedding anniversary.
      As there had already been a disturbance I made no comment but resolved to give the
      cook a piece of my mind in the morning. My instructions to the cook had been to warm
      the coffee pot with hot water immediately before serving. On no account was he to put
      the pewter pot on the hot iron stove. He did and the result was a small hole in the base
      of the pot – or so he says. When I saw the pot next morning there was a two inch hole in
      it.

      Hamisi explained placidly how this had come about. He said he knew I would be
      mad when I saw the little hole so he thought he would have it mended and I might not
      notice it. Early in the morning he had taken the pewter pot to the mechanic who looks
      after the Game Department vehicles and had asked him to repair it. The bright individual
      got busy with the soldering iron with the most devastating result. “It’s his fault,” said
      Hamisi, “He is a mechanic, he should have known what would happen.”
      One thing is certain, there will be no more dinner parties in this house until the war
      is ended.

      The children are well and so am I, and so was George when he left on his safari
      last Monday.

      Much love,
      Eleanor.

       

      #6265
      TracyTracy
      Participant

        From Tanganyika with Love

        continued  ~ part 6

        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

        Mchewe 6th June 1937

        Dearest Family,

        Home again! We had an uneventful journey. Kate was as good as gold all the
        way. We stopped for an hour at Bulawayo where we had to change trains but
        everything was simplified for me by a very pleasant man whose wife shared my
        compartment. Not only did he see me through customs but he installed us in our new
        train and his wife turned up to see us off with magazines for me and fruit and sweets for
        Kate. Very, very kind, don’t you think?

        Kate and I shared the compartment with a very pretty and gentle girl called
        Clarice Simpson. She was very worried and upset because she was going home to
        Broken Hill in response to a telegram informing her that her young husband was
        dangerously ill from Blackwater Fever. She was very helpful with Kate whose
        cheerfulness helped Clarice, I think, though I, quite unintentionally was the biggest help
        at the end of our journey. Remember the partial dentures I had had made just before
        leaving Cape Town? I know I shall never get used to the ghastly things, I’ve had them
        two weeks now and they still wobble. Well this day I took them out and wrapped them
        in a handkerchief, but when we were packing up to leave the train I could find the
        handkerchief but no teeth! We searched high and low until the train had slowed down to
        enter Broken Hill station. Then Clarice, lying flat on the floor, spied the teeth in the dark
        corner under the bottom bunk. With much stretching she managed to retrieve the
        dentures covered in grime and fluff. My look of horror, when I saw them, made young
        Clarice laugh. She was met at the station by a very grave elderly couple. I do wonder
        how things turned out for her.

        I stayed overnight with Kate at the Great Northern Hotel, and we set off for
        Mbeya by plane early in the morning. One of our fellow passengers was a young
        mother with a three week old baby. How ideas have changed since Ann was born. This
        time we had a smooth passage and I was the only passenger to get airsick. Although
        there were other women passengers it was a man once again, who came up and
        offered to help. Kate went off with him amiably and he entertained her until we touched
        down at Mbeya.

        George was there to meet us with a wonderful surprise, a little red two seater
        Ford car. She is a bit battered and looks a bit odd because the boot has been
        converted into a large wooden box for carrying raw salt, but she goes like the wind.
        Where did George raise the cash to buy a car? Whilst we were away he found a small
        cave full of bat guano near a large cave which is worked by a man called Bob Sargent.
        As Sargent did not want any competition he bought the contents of the cave from
        George giving him the small car as part payment.

        It was lovely to return to our little home and find everything fresh and tidy and the
        garden full of colour. But it was heartbreaking to go into the bedroom and see George’s
        precious forgotten boots still standing by his empty bed.

        With much love,
        Eleanor.

        Mchewe 25th June 1937

        Dearest Family,

        Last Friday George took Kate and me in the little red Ford to visit Mr Sargent’s
        camp on the Songwe River which cuts the Mbeya-Mbosi road. Mr Sargent bought
        Hicky-Wood’s guano deposit and also our small cave and is making a good living out of
        selling the bat guano to the coffee farmers in this province. George went to try to interest
        him in a guano deposit near Kilwa in the Southern Province. Mr Sargent agreed to pay
        25 pounds to cover the cost of the car trip and pegging costs. George will make the trip
        to peg the claim and take samples for analysis. If the quality is sufficiently high, George
        and Mr Sargent will go into partnership. George will work the claim and ship out the
        guano from Kilwa which is on the coast of the Southern Province of Tanganyika. So now
        we are busy building castles in the air once more.

        On Saturday we went to Mbeya where George had to attend a meeting of the
        Trout Association. In the afternoon he played in a cricket match so Kate and I spent the
        whole day with the wife of the new Superintendent of Police. They have a very nice
        new house with lawns and a sunken rose garden. Kate had a lovely romp with Kit, her
        three year old son.

        Mrs Wolten also has two daughters by a previous marriage. The elder girl said to
        me, “Oh Mrs Rushby your husband is exactly like the strong silent type of man I
        expected to see in Africa but he is the only one I have seen. I think he looks exactly like
        those men in the ‘Barney’s Tobacco’ advertisements.”

        I went home with a huge pile of magazines to keep me entertained whilst
        George is away on the Kilwa trip.

        Lots of love,
        Eleanor.

        Mchewe 9th July 1937

        Dearest Family,

        George returned on Monday from his Kilwa safari. He had an entertaining
        tale to tell.

        Before he approached Mr Sargent about going shares in the Kilwa guano
        deposit he first approached a man on the Lupa who had done very well out of a small
        gold reef. This man, however said he was not interested so you can imagine how
        indignant George was when he started on his long trip, to find himself being trailed by
        this very man and a co-driver in a powerful Ford V8 truck. George stopped his car and
        had some heated things to say – awful threats I imagine as to what would happen to
        anyone who staked his claim. Then he climbed back into our ancient little two seater and
        went off like a bullet driving all day and most of the night. As the others took turns in
        driving you can imagine what a feat it was for George to arrive in Kilwa ahead of them.
        When they drove into Kilwa he met them with a bright smile and a bit of bluff –
        quite justifiable under the circumstances I think. He said, you chaps can have a rest now,
        you’re too late.” He then whipped off and pegged the claim. he brought some samples
        of guano back but until it has been analysed he will not know whether the guano will be
        an economic proposition or not. George is not very hopeful. He says there is a good
        deal of sand mixed with the guano and that much of it was damp.

        The trip was pretty eventful for Kianda, our houseboy. The little two seater car
        had been used by its previous owner for carting bags of course salt from his salt pans.
        For this purpose the dicky seat behind the cab had been removed, and a kind of box
        built into the boot of the car. George’s camp kit and provisions were packed into this
        open box and Kianda perched on top to keep an eye on the belongings. George
        travelled so fast on the rough road that at some point during the night Kianda was
        bumped off in the middle of the Game Reserve. George did not notice that he was
        missing until the next morning. He concluded, quite rightly as it happened, that Kianda
        would be picked up by the rival truck so he continued his journey and Kianda rejoined
        him at Kilwa.

        Believe it or not, the same thing happened on the way back but fortunately this
        time George noticed his absence. He stopped the car and had just started back on his
        tracks when Kianda came running down the road still clutching the unlighted storm lamp
        which he was holding in his hand when he fell. The glass was not even cracked.
        We are finding it difficult just now to buy native chickens and eggs. There has
        been an epidemic amongst the poultry and one hesitates to eat the survivors. I have a
        brine tub in which I preserve our surplus meat but I need the chickens for soup.
        I hope George will be home for some months. He has arranged to take a Mr
        Blackburn, a wealthy fruit farmer from Elgin, Cape, on a hunting safari during September
        and October and that should bring in some much needed cash. Lillian Eustace has
        invited Kate and me to spend the whole of October with her in Tukuyu.
        I am so glad that you so much enjoy having Ann and George with you. We miss
        them dreadfully. Kate is a pretty little girl and such a little madam. You should hear the
        imperious way in which she calls the kitchenboy for her meals. “Boy Brekkis, Boy Lunch,
        and Boy Eggy!” are her three calls for the day. She knows no Ki-Swahili.

        Eleanor

        Mchewe 8th October 1937

        Dearest Family,

        I am rapidly becoming as superstitious as our African boys. They say the wild
        animals always know when George is away from home and come down to have their
        revenge on me because he has killed so many.

        I am being besieged at night by a most beastly leopard with a half grown cub. I
        have grown used to hearing leopards grunt as they hunt in the hills at night but never
        before have I had one roaming around literally under the windows. It has been so hot at
        night lately that I have been sleeping with my bedroom door open onto the verandah. I
        felt quite safe because the natives hereabouts are law-abiding and in any case I always
        have a boy armed with a club sleeping in the kitchen just ten yards away. As an added
        precaution I also have a loaded .45 calibre revolver on my bedside table, and Fanny
        our bullterrier, sleeps on the mat by my bed. I am also looking after Barney, a fine
        Airedale dog belonging to the Costers. He slept on a mat by the open bedroom door
        near a dimly burning storm lamp.

        As usual I went to sleep with an easy mind on Monday night, but was awakened
        in the early hours of Tuesday by the sound of a scuffle on the front verandah. The noise
        was followed by a scream of pain from Barney. I jumped out of bed and, grabbing the
        lamp with my left hand and the revolver in my right, I rushed outside just in time to see
        two animal figures roll over the edge of the verandah into the garden below. There they
        engaged in a terrific tug of war. Fortunately I was too concerned for Barney to be
        nervous. I quickly fired two shots from the revolver, which incidentally makes a noise like
        a cannon, and I must have startled the leopard for both animals, still locked together,
        disappeared over the edge of the terrace. I fired two more shots and in a few moments
        heard the leopard making a hurried exit through the dry leaves which lie thick under the
        wild fig tree just beyond the terrace. A few seconds later Barney appeared on the low
        terrace wall. I called his name but he made no move to come but stood with hanging
        head. In desperation I rushed out, felt blood on my hands when I touched him, so I
        picked him up bodily and carried him into the house. As I regained the verandah the boy
        appeared, club in hand, having been roused by the shots. He quickly grasped what had
        happened when he saw my blood saturated nightie. He fetched a bowl of water and a
        clean towel whilst I examined Barney’s wounds. These were severe, the worst being a
        gaping wound in his throat. I washed the gashes with a strong solution of pot permang
        and I am glad to say they are healing remarkably well though they are bound to leave
        scars. Fanny, very prudently, had taken no part in the fighting except for frenzied barking
        which she kept up all night. The shots had of course wakened Kate but she seemed
        more interested than alarmed and kept saying “Fanny bark bark, Mummy bang bang.
        Poor Barney lots of blood.”

        In the morning we inspected the tracks in the garden. There was a shallow furrow
        on the terrace where Barney and the leopard had dragged each other to and fro and
        claw marks on the trunk of the wild fig tree into which the leopard climbed after I fired the
        shots. The affair was of course a drama after the Africans’ hearts and several of our
        shamba boys called to see me next day to make sympathetic noises and discuss the
        affair.

        I went to bed early that night hoping that the leopard had been scared off for
        good but I must confess I shut all windows and doors. Alas for my hopes of a restful
        night. I had hardly turned down the lamp when the leopard started its terrifying grunting
        just under the bedroom windows. If only she would sniff around quietly I should not
        mind, but the noise is ghastly, something like the first sickening notes of a braying
        donkey, amplified here by the hills and the gorge which is only a stones throw from the
        bedroom. Barney was too sick to bark but Fanny barked loud enough for two and the more
        frantic she became the hungrier the leopard sounded. Kate of course woke up and this
        time she was frightened though I assured her that the noise was just a donkey having
        fun. Neither of us slept until dawn when the leopard returned to the hills. When we
        examined the tracks next morning we found that the leopard had been accompanied by
        a fair sized cub and that together they had prowled around the house, kitchen, and out
        houses, visiting especially the places to which the dogs had been during the day.
        As I feel I cannot bear many more of these nights, I am sending a note to the
        District Commissioner, Mbeya by the messenger who takes this letter to the post,
        asking him to send a game scout or an armed policeman to deal with the leopard.
        So don’t worry, for by the time this reaches you I feel sure this particular trouble
        will be over.

        Eleanor.

        Mchewe 17th October 1937

        Dearest Family,

        More about the leopard I fear! My messenger returned from Mbeya to say that
        the District Officer was on safari so he had given the message to the Assistant District
        Officer who also apparently left on safari later without bothering to reply to my note, so
        there was nothing for me to do but to send for the village Nimrod and his muzzle loader
        and offer him a reward if he could frighten away or kill the leopard.

        The hunter, Laza, suggested that he should sleep at the house so I went to bed
        early leaving Laza and his two pals to make themselves comfortable on the living room
        floor by the fire. Laza was armed with a formidable looking muzzle loader, crammed I
        imagine with nuts and bolts and old rusty nails. One of his pals had a spear and the other
        a panga. This fellow was also in charge of the Petromax pressure lamp whose light was
        hidden under a packing case. I left the campaign entirely to Laza’s direction.
        As usual the leopard came at midnight stealing down from the direction of the
        kitchen and announcing its presence and position with its usual ghastly grunts. Suddenly
        pandemonium broke loose on the back verandah. I heard the roar of the muzzle loader
        followed by a vigourous tattoo beaten on an empty paraffin tin and I rushed out hoping
        to find the dead leopard. however nothing of the kind had happened except that the
        noise must have scared the beast because she did not return again that night. Next
        morning Laza solemnly informed me that, though he had shot many leopards in his day,
        this was no ordinary leopard but a “sheitani” (devil) and that as his gun was no good
        against witchcraft he thought he might as well retire from the hunt. Scared I bet, and I
        don’t blame him either.

        You can imagine my relief when a car rolled up that afternoon bringing Messers
        Stewart and Griffiths, two farmers who live about 15 miles away, between here and
        Mbeya. They had a note from the Assistant District Officer asking them to help me and
        they had come to set up a trap gun in the garden. That night the leopard sniffed all
        around the gun and I had the added strain of waiting for the bang and wondering what I
        should do if the beast were only wounded. I conjured up horrible visions of the two little
        totos trotting up the garden path with the early morning milk and being horribly mauled,
        but I needn’t have worried because the leopard was far too wily to be caught that way.
        Two more ghastly nights passed and then I had another visitor, a Dr Jackson of
        the Tsetse Department on safari in the District. He listened sympathetically to my story
        and left his shotgun and some SSG cartridges with me and instructed me to wait until the
        leopard was pretty close and blow its b—– head off. It was good of him to leave his
        gun. George always says there are three things a man should never lend, ‘His wife, his
        gun and his dog.’ (I think in that order!)I felt quite cheered by Dr Jackson’s visit and sent
        once again for Laza last night and arranged a real show down. In the afternoon I draped
        heavy blankets over the living room windows to shut out the light of the pressure lamp
        and the four of us, Laza and his two stooges and I waited up for the leopard. When we
        guessed by her grunts that she was somewhere between the kitchen and the back door
        we all rushed out, first the boy with the panga and the lamp, next Laza with his muzzle
        loader, then me with the shotgun followed closely by the boy with the spear. What a
        farce! The lamp was our undoing. We were blinded by the light and did not even
        glimpse the leopard which made off with a derisive grunt. Laza said smugly that he knew
        it was hopeless to try and now I feel tired and discouraged too.

        This morning I sent a runner to Mbeya to order the hotel taxi for tomorrow and I
        shall go to friends in Mbeya for a day or two and then on to Tukuyu where I shall stay
        with the Eustaces until George returns from Safari.

        Eleanor.

        Mchewe 18th November 1937

        My darling Ann,

        Here we are back in our own home and how lovely it is to have Daddy back from
        safari. Thank you very much for your letter. I hope by now you have got mine telling you
        how very much I liked the beautiful tray cloth you made for my birthday. I bet there are
        not many little girls of five who can embroider as well as you do, darling. The boy,
        Matafari, washes and irons it so carefully and it looks lovely on the tea tray.

        Daddy and I had some fun last night. I was in bed and Daddy was undressing
        when we heard a funny scratching noise on the roof. I thought it was the leopard. Daddy
        quickly loaded his shotgun and ran outside. He had only his shirt on and he looked so
        funny. I grabbed the loaded revolver from the cupboard and ran after Dad in my nightie
        but after all the rush it was only your cat, Winnie, though I don’t know how she managed
        to make such a noise. We felt so silly, we laughed and laughed.

        Kate talks a lot now but in such a funny way you would laugh to her her. She
        hears the houseboys call me Memsahib so sometimes instead of calling me Mummy
        she calls me “Oompaab”. She calls the bedroom a ‘bippon’ and her little behind she
        calls her ‘sittendump’. She loves to watch Mandawi’s cattle go home along the path
        behind the kitchen. Joseph your donkey, always leads the cows. He has a lazy life now.
        I am glad you had such fun on Guy Fawkes Day. You will be sad to leave
        Plumstead but I am sure you will like going to England on the big ship with granny Kate.
        I expect you will start school when you get to England and I am sure you will find that
        fun.

        God bless my dear little girl. Lots of love from Daddy and Kate,
        and Mummy

        Mchewe 18th November 1937

        Hello George Darling,

        Thank you for your lovely drawing of Daddy shooting an elephant. Daddy says
        that the only thing is that you have drawn him a bit too handsome.

        I went onto the verandah a few minutes ago to pick a banana for Kate from the
        bunch hanging there and a big hornet flew out and stung my elbow! There are lots of
        them around now and those stinging flies too. Kate wears thick corduroy dungarees so
        that she will not get her fat little legs bitten. She is two years old now and is a real little
        pickle. She loves running out in the rain so I have ordered a pair of red Wellingtons and a
        tiny umbrella from a Nairobi shop for her Christmas present.

        Fanny’s puppies have their eyes open now and have very sharp little teeth.
        They love to nip each other. We are keeping the fiercest little one whom we call Paddy
        but are giving the others to friends. The coffee bushes are full of lovely white flowers
        and the bees and ants are very busy stealing their honey.

        Yesterday a troop of baboons came down the hill and Dad shot a big one to
        scare the others off. They are a nuisance because they steal the maize and potatoes
        from the native shambas and then there is not enough food for the totos.
        Dad and I are very proud of you for not making a fuss when you went to the
        dentist to have that tooth out.

        Bye bye, my fine little son.
        Three bags full of love from Kate, Dad and Mummy.

        Mchewe 12th February, 1938

        Dearest Family,

        here is some news that will please you. George has been offered and has
        accepted a job as Forester at Mbulu in the Northern Province of Tanganyika. George
        would have preferred a job as Game Ranger, but though the Game Warden, Philip
        Teare, is most anxious to have him in the Game Department, there is no vacancy at
        present. Anyway if one crops up later, George can always transfer from one
        Government Department to another. Poor George, he hates the idea of taking a job. He
        says that hitherto he has always been his own master and he detests the thought of
        being pushed around by anyone.

        Now however he has no choice. Our capitol is almost exhausted and the coffee
        market shows no signs of improving. With three children and another on the way, he
        feels he simply must have a fixed income. I shall be sad to leave this little farm. I love
        our little home and we have been so very happy here, but my heart rejoices at the
        thought of overseas leave every thirty months. Now we shall be able to fetch Ann and
        George from England and in three years time we will all be together in Tanganyika once
        more.

        There is no sale for farms so we will just shut the house and keep on a very small
        labour force just to keep the farm from going derelict. We are eating our hens but will
        take our two dogs, Fanny and Paddy with us.

        One thing I shall be glad to leave is that leopard. She still comes grunting around
        at night but not as badly as she did before. I do not mind at all when George is here but
        until George was accepted for this forestry job I was afraid he might go back to the
        Diggings and I should once more be left alone to be cursed by the leopard’s attentions.
        Knowing how much I dreaded this George was most anxious to shoot the leopard and
        for weeks he kept his shotgun and a powerful torch handy at night.

        One night last week we woke to hear it grunting near the kitchen. We got up very
        quietly and whilst George loaded the shotgun with SSG, I took the torch and got the
        heavy revolver from the cupboard. We crept out onto the dark verandah where George
        whispered to me to not switch on the torch until he had located the leopard. It was pitch
        black outside so all he could do was listen intently. And then of course I spoilt all his
        plans. I trod on the dog’s tin bowl and made a terrific clatter! George ordered me to
        switch on the light but it was too late and the leopard vanished into the long grass of the
        Kalonga, grunting derisively, or so it sounded.

        She never comes into the clearing now but grunts from the hillside just above it.

        Eleanor.

        Mbulu 18th March, 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Journeys end at last. here we are at Mbulu, installed in our new quarters which are
        as different as they possibly could be from our own cosy little home at Mchewe. We
        live now, my dears, in one wing of a sort of ‘Beau Geste’ fort but I’ll tell you more about
        it in my next letter. We only arrived yesterday and have not had time to look around.
        This letter will tell you just about our trip from Mbeya.

        We left the farm in our little red Ford two seater with all our portable goods and
        chattels plus two native servants and the two dogs. Before driving off, George took one
        look at the flattened springs and declared that he would be surprised if we reached
        Mbeya without a breakdown and that we would never make Mbulu with the car so
        overloaded.

        However luck was with us. We reached Mbeya without mishap and at one of the
        local garages saw a sturdy used Ford V8 boxbody car for sale. The garage agreed to
        take our small car as part payment and George drew on our little remaining capitol for the
        rest. We spent that night in the house of the Forest Officer and next morning set out in
        comfort for the Northern Province of Tanganyika.

        I had done the journey from Dodoma to Mbeya seven years before so was
        familiar with the scenery but the road was much improved and the old pole bridges had
        been replaced by modern steel ones. Kate was as good as gold all the way. We
        avoided hotels and camped by the road and she found this great fun.
        The road beyond Dodoma was new to me and very interesting country, flat and
        dry and dusty, as little rain falls there. The trees are mostly thorn trees but here and there
        one sees a giant baobab, weird trees with fantastically thick trunks and fat squat branches
        with meagre foliage. The inhabitants of this area I found interesting though. They are
        called Wagogo and are a primitive people who ape the Masai in dress and customs
        though they are much inferior to the Masai in physique. They are also great herders of
        cattle which, rather surprisingly, appear to thrive in that dry area.

        The scenery alters greatly as one nears Babati, which one approaches by a high
        escarpment from which one has a wonderful view of the Rift Valley. Babati township
        appears to be just a small group of Indian shops and shabby native houses, but I
        believe there are some good farms in the area. Though the little township is squalid,
        there is a beautiful lake and grand mountains to please the eye. We stopped only long
        enough to fill up with petrol and buy some foodstuffs. Beyond Babati there is a tsetse
        fly belt and George warned our two native servants to see that no tsetse flies settled on
        the dogs.

        We stopped for the night in a little rest house on the road about 80 miles from
        Arusha where we were to spend a few days with the Forest Officer before going on to
        Mbulu. I enjoyed this section of the road very much because it runs across wide plains
        which are bounded on the West by the blue mountains of the Rift Valley wall. Here for
        the first time I saw the Masai on their home ground guarding their vast herds of cattle. I
        also saw their strange primitive hovels called Manyattas, with their thorn walled cattle
        bomas and lots of plains game – giraffe, wildebeest, ostriches and antelope. Kate was
        wildly excited and entranced with the game especially the giraffe which stood gazing
        curiously and unafraid of us, often within a few yards of the road.

        Finally we came across the greatest thrill of all, my first view of Mt Meru the extinct
        volcano about 16,000 feet high which towers over Arusha township. The approach to
        Arusha is through flourishing coffee plantations very different alas from our farm at Mchewe. George says that at Arusha coffee growing is still a paying proposition
        because here the yield of berry per acre is much higher than in the Southern highlands
        and here in the North the farmers have not such heavy transport costs as the railway runs
        from Arusha to the port at Tanga.

        We stayed overnight at a rather second rate hotel but the food was good and we
        had hot baths and a good nights rest. Next day Tom Lewis the Forest Officer, fetched
        us and we spent a few days camping in a tent in the Lewis’ garden having meals at their
        home. Both Tom and Lillian Lewis were most friendly. Tom lewis explained to George
        what his work in the Mbulu District was to be, and they took us camping in a Forest
        Reserve where Lillian and her small son David and Kate and I had a lovely lazy time
        amidst beautiful surroundings. Before we left for Mbulu, Lillian took me shopping to buy
        material for curtains for our new home. She described the Forest House at Mbulu to me
        and it sounded delightful but alas, when we reached Mbulu we discovered that the
        Assistant District Officer had moved into the Forest House and we were directed to the
        Fort or Boma. The night before we left Arusha for Mbulu it rained very heavily and the
        road was very treacherous and slippery due to the surface being of ‘black cotton’ soil
        which has the appearance and consistency of chocolate blancmange, after rain. To get to
        Mbulu we had to drive back in the direction of Dodoma for some 70 miles and then turn
        to the right and drive across plains to the Great Rift Valley Wall. The views from this
        escarpment road which climbs this wall are magnificent. At one point one looks down
        upon Lake Manyara with its brilliant white beaches of soda.

        The drive was a most trying one for George. We had no chains for the wheels
        and several times we stuck in the mud and our two houseboys had to put grass and
        branches under the wheels to stop them from spinning. Quite early on in the afternoon
        George gave up all hope of reaching Mbulu that day and planned to spend the night in
        a little bush rest camp at Karatu. However at one point it looked as though we would not
        even reach this resthouse for late afternoon found us properly bogged down in a mess
        of mud at the bottom of a long and very steep hill. In spite of frantic efforts on the part of
        George and the two boys, all now very wet and muddy, the heavy car remained stuck.
        Suddenly five Masai men appeared through the bushes beside the road. They
        were all tall and angular and rather terrifying looking to me. Each wore only a blanket
        knotted over one shoulder and all were armed with spears. They lined up by the side of
        the road and just looked – not hostile but simply aloof and supercilious. George greeted
        them and said in Ki-Swahili, “Help to push and I will reward you.” But they said nothing,
        just drawing back imperceptibly to register disgust at the mere idea of manual labour.
        Their expressions said quite clearly “A Masai is a warrior and does not soil his hands.”
        George then did something which startled them I think, as much as me. He
        plucked their spears from their hands one by one and flung them into the back of the
        boxbody. “Now push!” he said, “And when we are safely out of the mud you shall have
        your spears back.” To my utter astonishment the Masai seemed to applaud George’s
        action. I think they admire courage in a man more than anything else. They pushed with a
        will and soon we were roaring up the long steep slope. “I can’t stop here” quoth George
        as up and up we went. The Masai were in mad pursuit with their blankets streaming
        behind. They took a very steep path which was a shortcut to the top. They are certainly
        amazing athletes and reached the top at the same time as the car. Their route of course
        was shorter but much more steep, yet they came up without any sign of fatigue to claim
        their spears and the money which George handed out with a friendly grin. The Masai
        took the whole episode in good heart and we parted on the most friendly terms.

        After a rather chilly night in the three walled shack, we started on the last lap of our
        journey yesterday morning in bright weather and made the trip to Mbulu without incident.

        Eleanor.

        Mbulu 24th March, 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Mbulu is an attractive station but living in this rather romantic looking fort has many
        disadvantages. Our quarters make up one side of the fort which is built up around a
        hollow square. The buildings are single storied but very tall in the German manner and
        there is a tower on one corner from which the Union Jack flies. The tower room is our
        sitting room, and one has very fine views from the windows of the rolling country side.
        However to reach this room one has to climb a steep flight of cement steps from the
        court yard. Another disadvantage of this tower room is that there is a swarm of bees in
        the roof and the stray ones drift down through holes in the ceiling and buzz angrily
        against the window panes or fly around in a most menacing manner.

        Ours are the only private quarters in the Fort. Two other sides of the Fort are
        used as offices, storerooms and court room and the fourth side is simply a thick wall with
        battlements and loopholes and a huge iron shod double door of enormous thickness
        which is always barred at sunset when the flag is hauled down. Two Police Askari always
        remain in the Fort on guard at night. The effect from outside the whitewashed fort is very
        romantic but inside it is hardly homely and how I miss my garden at Mchewe and the
        grass and trees.

        We have no privacy downstairs because our windows overlook the bare
        courtyard which is filled with Africans patiently waiting to be admitted to the courtroom as
        witnesses or spectators. The outside windows which overlook the valley are heavily
        barred. I can only think that the Germans who built this fort must have been very scared
        of the local natives.

        Our rooms are hardly cosy and are furnished with typical heavy German pieces.
        We have a vast bleak bedroom, a dining room and an enormous gloomy kitchen in
        which meals for the German garrison were cooked. At night this kitchen is alive with
        gigantic rats but fortunately they do not seem to care for the other rooms. To crown
        everything owls hoot and screech at night on the roof.

        On our first day here I wandered outside the fort walls with Kate and came upon a
        neatly fenced plot enclosing the graves of about fifteen South African soldiers killed by
        the Germans in the 1914-18 war. I understand that at least one of theses soldiers died in
        the courtyard here. The story goes, that during the period in the Great War when this fort
        was occupied by a troop of South African Horse, a German named Siedtendorf
        appeared at the great barred door at night and asked to speak to the officer in command
        of the Troop. The officer complied with this request and the small shutter in the door was
        opened so that he could speak with the German. The German, however, had not come
        to speak. When he saw the exposed face of the officer, he fired, killing him, and
        escaped into the dark night. I had this tale on good authority but cannot vouch for it. I do
        know though, that there are two bullet holes in the door beside the shutter. An unhappy
        story to think about when George is away, as he is now, and the moonlight throws queer
        shadows in the court yard and the owls hoot.

        However though I find our quarters depressing, I like Mbulu itself very much. It is
        rolling country, treeless except for the plantations of the Forestry Dept. The land is very
        fertile in the watered valleys but the grass on hills and plains is cropped to the roots by
        the far too numerous cattle and goats. There are very few Europeans on the station, only
        Mr Duncan, the District Officer, whose wife and children recently left for England, the
        Assistant District Officer and his wife, a bachelor Veterinary Officer, a Road Foreman and
        ourselves, and down in the village a German with an American wife and an elderly
        Irishman whom I have not met. The Government officials have a communal vegetable
        garden in the valley below the fort which keeps us well supplied with green stuff. 

        Most afternoons George, Kate and I go for walks after tea. On Fridays there is a
        little ceremony here outside the fort. In the late afternoon a little procession of small
        native schoolboys, headed by a drum and penny whistle band come marching up the
        road to a tune which sounds like ‘Two lovely black eyes”. They form up below our tower
        and as the flag is lowered for the day they play ‘God save the King’, and then march off
        again. It is quite a cheerful little ceremony.

        The local Africans are a skinny lot and, I should say, a poor tribe. They protect
        themselves against the cold by wrapping themselves in cotton blankets or a strip of
        unbleached sheeting. This they drape over their heads, almost covering their faces and
        the rest is wrapped closely round their bodies in the manner of a shroud. A most
        depressing fashion. They live in very primitive comfortless houses. They simply make a
        hollow in the hillside and build a front wall of wattle and daub. Into this rude shelter at night
        go cattle and goats, men, women, and children.

        Mbulu village has the usual mud brick and wattle dukas and wattle and daub
        houses. The chief trader is a Goan who keeps a surprisingly good variety of tinned
        foodstuffs and also sells hardware and soft goods.

        The Europeans here have been friendly but as you will have noted there are
        only two other women on station and no children at all to be companions for Kate.

        Eleanor.

        Mbulu 20th June 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Here we are on Safari with George at Babati where we are occupying a rest
        house on the slopes of Ufiome Mountain. The slopes are a Forest Reserve and
        George is supervising the clearing of firebreaks in preparation for the dry weather. He
        goes off after a very early breakfast and returns home in the late afternoon so Kate and I
        have long lazy days.

        Babati is a pleasant spot and the resthouse is quite comfortable. It is about a mile
        from the village which is just the usual collection of small mud brick and corrugated iron
        Indian Dukas. There are a few settlers in the area growing coffee, or going in for mixed
        farming but I don’t think they are doing very well. The farm adjoining the rest house is
        owned by Lord Lovelace but is run by a manager.

        George says he gets enough exercise clambering about all day on the mountain,
        so Kate and I do our walking in the mornings when George is busy, and we all relax in
        the evenings when George returns from his field work. Kate’s favourite walk is to the big
        block of mtama (sorghum) shambas lower down the hill. There are huge swarms of tiny
        grain eating birds around waiting the chance to plunder the mtama, so the crops are
        watched from sunrise to sunset.

        Crude observation platforms have been erected for this purpose in the centre of
        each field and the women and the young boys of the family concerned, take it in turn to
        occupy the platform and scare the birds. Each watcher has a sling and uses clods of
        earth for ammunition. The clod is placed in the centre of the sling which is then whirled
        around at arms length. Suddenly one end of the sling is released and the clod of earth
        flies out and shatters against the mtama stalks. The sling makes a loud whip like crack and
        the noise is quite startling and very effective in keeping the birds at a safe distance.

        Eleanor.

        Karatu 3rd July 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Still on safari you see! We left Babati ten days ago and passed through Mbulu
        on our way to this spot. We slept out of doors one night beside Lake Tiawa about eight
        miles from Mbulu. It was a peaceful spot and we enjoyed watching the reflection of the
        sunset on the lake and the waterhens and duck and pelicans settling down for the night.
        However it turned piercingly cold after sunset so we had an early supper and then all
        three of us lay down to sleep in the back of the boxbody (station wagon). It was a tight
        fit and a real case of ‘When Dad turns, we all turn.’

        Here at Karatu we are living in a grass hut with only three walls. It is rather sweet
        and looks like the setting for a Nativity Play. Kate and I share the only camp bed and
        George and the dogs sleep on the floor. The air here is very fresh and exhilarating and
        we all feel very fit. George is occupied all day supervising the cutting of firebreaks
        around existing plantations and the forest reserve of indigenous trees. Our camp is on
        the hillside and below us lie the fertile wheat lands of European farmers.

        They are mostly Afrikaners, the descendants of the Boer families who were
        invited by the Germans to settle here after the Boer War. Most of them are pro-British
        now and a few have called in here to chat to George about big game hunting. George
        gets on extremely well with them and recently attended a wedding where he had a
        lively time dancing at the reception. He likes the older people best as most are great
        individualists. One fine old man, surnamed von Rooyen, visited our camp. He is a Boer
        of the General Smuts type with spare figure and bearded face. George tells me he is a
        real patriarch with an enormous family – mainly sons. This old farmer fought against the
        British throughout the Boer War under General Smuts and again against the British in the
        German East Africa campaign when he was a scout and right hand man to Von Lettow. It
        is said that Von Lettow was able to stay in the field until the end of the Great War
        because he listened to the advise given to him by von Rooyen. However his dislike for
        the British does not extend to George as they have a mutual interest in big game
        hunting.

        Kate loves being on safari. She is now so accustomed to having me as her nurse
        and constant companion that I do not know how she will react to paid help. I shall have to
        get someone to look after her during my confinement in the little German Red Cross
        hospital at Oldeani.

        George has obtained permission from the District Commissioner, for Kate and
        me to occupy the Government Rest House at Oldeani from the end of July until the end
        of August when my baby is due. He will have to carry on with his field work but will join
        us at weekends whenever possible.

        Eleanor.

        Karatu 12th July 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Not long now before we leave this camp. We have greatly enjoyed our stay
        here in spite of the very chilly earl mornings and the nights when we sit around in heavy
        overcoats until our early bed time.

        Last Sunday I persuaded George to take Kate and me to the famous Ngoro-
        Ngoro Crater. He was not very keen to do so because the road is very bumpy for
        anyone in my interesting condition but I feel so fit that I was most anxious to take this
        opportunity of seeing the enormous crater. We may never be in this vicinity again and in
        any case safari will not be so simple with a small baby.

        What a wonderful trip it was! The road winds up a steep escarpment from which
        one gets a glorious birds eye view of the plains of the Great Rift Valley far, far below.
        The crater is immense. There is a road which skirts the rim in places and one has quite
        startling views of the floor of the crater about two thousand feet below.

        A camp for tourists has just been built in a clearing in the virgin forest. It is most
        picturesque as the camp buildings are very neatly constructed log cabins with very high
        pitched thatched roofs. We spent about an hour sitting on the grass near the edge of the
        crater enjoying the sunshine and the sharp air and really awe inspiring view. Far below us
        in the middle of the crater was a small lake and we could see large herds of game
        animals grazing there but they were too far away to be impressive, even seen through
        George’s field glasses. Most appeared to be wildebeest and zebra but I also picked
        out buffalo. Much more exciting was my first close view of a wild elephant. George
        pointed him out to me as we approached the rest camp on the inward journey. He
        stood quietly under a tree near the road and did not seem to be disturbed by the car
        though he rolled a wary eye in our direction. On our return journey we saw him again at
        almost uncomfortably close quarters. We rounded a sharp corner and there stood the
        elephant, facing us and slap in the middle of the road. He was busily engaged giving
        himself a dust bath but spared time to give us an irritable look. Fortunately we were on a
        slight slope so George quickly switched off the engine and backed the car quietly round
        the corner. He got out of the car and loaded his rifle, just in case! But after he had finished
        his toilet the elephant moved off the road and we took our chance and passed without
        incident.

        One notices the steepness of the Ngoro-Ngoro road more on the downward
        journey than on the way up. The road is cut into the side of the mountain so that one has
        a steep slope on one hand and a sheer drop on the other. George told me that a lorry
        coming down the mountain was once charged from behind by a rhino. On feeling and
        hearing the bash from behind the panic stricken driver drove off down the mountain as
        fast as he dared and never paused until he reached level ground at the bottom of the
        mountain. There was no sign of the rhino so the driver got out to examine his lorry and
        found the rhino horn embedded in the wooden tail end of the lorry. The horn had been
        wrenched right off!

        Happily no excitement of that kind happened to us. I have yet to see a rhino.

        Eleanor.

        Oldeani. 19th July 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Greetings from a lady in waiting! Kate and I have settled down comfortably in the
        new, solidly built Government Rest House which comprises one large living room and
        one large office with a connecting door. Outside there is a kitchen and a boys quarter.
        There are no resident Government officials here at Oldeani so the office is in use only
        when the District Officer from Mbulu makes his monthly visit. However a large Union
        Jack flies from a flagpole in the front of the building as a gentle reminder to the entirely
        German population of Oldeani that Tanganyika is now under British rule.

        There is quite a large community of German settlers here, most of whom are
        engaged in coffee farming. George has visited several of the farms in connection with his
        forestry work and says the coffee plantations look very promising indeed. There are also
        a few German traders in the village and there is a large boarding school for German
        children and also a very pleasant little hospital where I have arranged to have the baby.
        Right next door to the Rest House is a General Dealers Store run by a couple named
        Schnabbe. The shop is stocked with drapery, hardware, china and foodstuffs all
        imported from Germany and of very good quality. The Schnabbes also sell local farm
        produce, beautiful fresh vegetables, eggs and pure rich milk and farm butter. Our meat
        comes from a German butchery and it is a great treat to get clean, well cut meat. The
        sausages also are marvellous and in great variety.

        The butcher is an entertaining character. When he called round looking for custom I
        expected him to break out in a yodel any minute, as it was obvious from a glance that
        the Alps are his natural background. From under a green Tyrollean hat with feather,
        blooms a round beefy face with sparkling small eyes and such widely spaced teeth that
        one inevitably thinks of a garden rake. Enormous beefy thighs bulge from greasy
        lederhosen which are supported by the traditional embroidered braces. So far the
        butcher is the only cheery German, male or female, whom I have seen, and I have met
        most of the locals at the Schnabbe’s shop. Most of the men seem to have cultivated
        the grim Hitler look. They are all fanatical Nazis and one is usually greeted by a raised
        hand and Heil Hitler! All very theatrical. I always feel like crying in ringing tones ‘God
        Save the King’ or even ‘St George for England’. However the men are all very correct
        and courteous and the women friendly. The women all admire Kate and cry, “Ag, das
        kleine Englander.” She really is a picture with her rosy cheeks and huge grey eyes and
        golden curls. Kate is having a wonderful time playing with Manfried, the Scnabbe’s small
        son. Neither understands a word said by the other but that doesn’t seem to worry them.

        Before he left on safari, George took me to hospital for an examination by the
        nurse, Sister Marianne. She has not been long in the country and knows very little
        English but is determined to learn and carried on an animated, if rather quaint,
        conversation with frequent references to a pocket dictionary. She says I am not to worry
        because there is not doctor here. She is a very experienced midwife and anyway in an
        emergency could call on the old retired Veterinary Surgeon for assistance.
        I asked sister Marianne whether she knew of any German woman or girl who
        would look after Kate whilst I am in hospital and today a very top drawer German,
        bearing a strong likeness to ‘Little Willie’, called and offered the services of his niece who
        is here on a visit from Germany. I was rather taken aback and said, “Oh no Baron, your
        niece would not be the type I had in mind. I’m afraid I cannot pay much for a companion.”
        However the Baron was not to be discouraged. He told me that his niece is seventeen
        but looks twenty, that she is well educated and will make a cheerful companion. Her
        father wishes her to learn to speak English fluently and that is why the Baron wished her
        to come to me as a house daughter. As to pay, a couple of pounds a month for pocket
        money and her keep was all he had in mind. So with some misgivings I agreed to take
        the niece on as a companion as from 1st August.

        Eleanor.

        Oldeani. 10th August 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Never a dull moment since my young companion arrived. She is a striking looking
        girl with a tall boyish figure and very short and very fine dark hair which she wears
        severely slicked back. She wears tweeds, no make up but has shiny rosy cheeks and
        perfect teeth – she also,inevitably, has a man friend and I have an uncomfortable
        suspicion that it is because of him that she was planted upon me. Upon second
        thoughts though, maybe it was because of her excessive vitality, or even because of
        her healthy appetite! The Baroness, I hear is in poor health and I can imagine that such
        abundant health and spirit must have been quite overpowering. The name is Ingeborg,
        but she is called Mouche, which I believe means Mouse. Someone in her family must
        have a sense of humour.

        Her English only needed practice and she now chatters fluently so that I know her
        background and views on life. Mouche’s father is a personal friend of Goering. He was
        once a big noise in the German Airforce but is now connected with the car industry and
        travels frequently and intensively in Europe and America on business. Mouche showed
        me some snap shots of her family and I must say they look prosperous and charming.
        Mouche tells me that her father wants her to learn to speak English fluently so that
        she can get a job with some British diplomat in Cairo. I had immediate thought that I
        might be nursing a future Mata Hari in my bosom, but this was immediately extinguished
        when Mouche remarked that her father would like her to marry an Englishman. However
        it seems that the mere idea revolts her. “Englishmen are degenerates who swill whisky
        all day.” I pointed out that she had met George, who was a true blue Englishman, but
        was nevertheless a fine physical specimen and certainly didn’t drink all day. Mouche
        replied that George is not an Englishman but a hunter, as though that set him apart.
        Mouche is an ardent Hitler fan and an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth
        Movement. The house resounds with Hitler youth songs and when she is not singing,
        her gramophone is playing very stirring marching songs. I cannot understand a word,
        which is perhaps as well. Every day she does the most strenuous exercises watched
        with envy by me as my proportions are now those of a circus Big Top. Mouche eats a
        fantastic amount of meat and I feel it is a blessing that she is much admired by our
        Tyrollean butcher who now delivers our meat in person and adds as a token of his
        admiration some extra sausages for Mouche.

        I must confess I find her stimulating company as George is on safari most of the
        time and my evenings otherwise would be lonely. I am a little worried though about
        leaving Kate here with Mouche when I go to hospital. The dogs and Kate have not taken
        to her. I am trying to prepare Kate for the separation but she says, “She’s not my
        mummy. You are my dear mummy, and I want you, I want you.” George has got
        permission from the Provincial Forestry Officer to spend the last week of August here at
        the Rest House with me and I only hope that the baby will be born during that time.
        Kate adores her dad and will be perfectly happy to remain here with him.

        One final paragraph about Mouche. I thought all German girls were domesticated
        but not Mouche. I have Kesho-Kutwa here with me as cook and I have engaged a local
        boy to do the laundry. I however expected Mouche would take over making the
        puddings and pastry but she informed me that she can only bake a chocolate cake and
        absolutely nothing else. She said brightly however that she would do the mending. As
        there is none for her to do, she has rescued a large worn handkerchief of George’s and
        sits with her feet up listening to stirring gramophone records whilst she mends the
        handkerchief with exquisite darning.

        Eleanor.

        Oldeani. 20th August 1938

        Dearest Family,

        Just after I had posted my last letter I received what George calls a demi official
        letter from the District Officer informing me that I would have to move out of the Rest
        House for a few days as the Governor and his hangers on would be visiting Oldeani
        and would require the Rest House. Fortunately George happened to be here for a few
        hours and he arranged for Kate and Mouche and me to spend a few days at the
        German School as borders. So here I am at the school having a pleasant and restful
        time and much entertained by all the goings on.

        The school buildings were built with funds from Germany and the school is run on
        the lines of a contemporary German school. I think the school gets a grant from the
        Tanganyika Government towards running expenses, but I am not sure. The school hall is
        dominated by a more than life sized oil painting of Adolf Hitler which, at present, is
        flanked on one side by the German Flag and on the other by the Union Jack. I cannot
        help feeling that the latter was put up today for the Governor’s visit today.
        The teachers are very amiable. We all meet at mealtimes, and though few of the
        teachers speak English, the ones who do are anxious to chatter. The headmaster is a
        scholarly man but obviously anti-British. He says he cannot understand why so many
        South Africans are loyal to Britain – or rather to England. “They conquered your country
        didn’t they?” I said that that had never occurred to me and that anyway I was mainly of
        Scots descent and that loyalty to the crown was natural to me. “But the English
        conquered the Scots and yet you are loyal to England. That I cannot understand.” “Well I
        love England,” said I firmly, ”and so do all British South Africans.” Since then we have
        stuck to English literature. Shakespeare, Lord Byron and Galsworthy seem to be the
        favourites and all, thank goodness, make safe topics for conversation.
        Mouche is in her element but Kate and I do not enjoy the food which is typically
        German and consists largely of masses of fat pork and sauerkraut and unfamiliar soups. I
        feel sure that the soup at lunch today had blobs of lemon curd in it! I also find most
        disconcerting the way that everyone looks at me and says, “Bon appetite”, with much
        smiling and nodding so I have to fight down my nausea and make a show of enjoying
        the meals.

        The teacher whose room adjoins mine is a pleasant woman and I take my
        afternoon tea with her. She, like all the teachers, has a large framed photo of Hitler on her
        wall flanked by bracket vases of fresh flowers. One simply can’t get away from the man!
        Even in the dormitories each child has a picture of Hitler above the bed. Hitler accepting
        flowers from a small girl, or patting a small boy on the head. Even the children use the
        greeting ‘Heil Hitler’. These German children seem unnaturally prim when compared with
        my cheerful ex-pupils in South Africa but some of them are certainly very lovely to look
        at.

        Tomorrow Mouche, Kate and I return to our quarters in the Rest House and in a
        few days George will join us for a week.

        Eleanor.

        Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

        Dearest Family,

        You will all be delighted to hear that we have a second son, whom we have
        named John. He is a darling, so quaint and good. He looks just like a little old man with a
        high bald forehead fringed around the edges with a light brown fluff. George and I call
        him Johnny Jo because he has a tiny round mouth and a rather big nose and reminds us
        of A.A.Milne’s ‘Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an O’ , but Kate calls him, ‘My brother John’.
        George was not here when he was born on September 5th, just two minutes
        before midnight. He left on safari on the morning of the 4th and, of course, that very night
        the labour pains started. Fortunately Kate was in bed asleep so Mouche walked with
        me up the hill to the hospital where I was cheerfully received by Sister Marianne who
        had everything ready for the confinement. I was lucky to have such an experienced
        midwife because this was a breech birth and sister had to manage single handed. As
        there was no doctor present I was not allowed even a sniff of anaesthetic. Sister slaved
        away by the light of a pressure lamp endeavouring to turn the baby having first shoved
        an inverted baby bath under my hips to raise them.

        What a performance! Sister Marianne was very much afraid that she might not be
        able to save the baby and great was our relief when at last she managed to haul him out
        by the feet. One slap and the baby began to cry without any further attention so Sister
        wrapped him up in a blanket and took Johnny to her room for the night. I got very little
        sleep but was so thankful to have the ordeal over that I did not mind even though I
        heard a hyaena cackling and calling under my window in a most evil way.
        When Sister brought Johnny to me in the early morning I stared in astonishment.
        Instead of dressing him in one of his soft Viyella nighties, she had dressed him in a short
        sleeved vest of knitted cotton with a cotton cloth swayed around his waist sarong
        fashion. When I protested, “But Sister why is the baby not dressed in his own clothes?”
        She answered firmly, “I find it is not allowed. A baby’s clotheses must be boiled and I
        cannot boil clotheses of wool therefore your baby must wear the clotheses of the Red
        Cross.”

        It was the same with the bedding. Poor Johnny lies all day in a deep wicker
        basket with a detachable calico lining. There is no pillow under his head but a vast kind of
        calico covered pillow is his only covering. There is nothing at all cosy and soft round my
        poor baby. I said crossly to the Sister, “As every thing must be so sterile, I wonder you
        don’t boil me too.” This she ignored.

        When my message reached George he dashed back to visit us. Sister took him
        first to see the baby and George was astonished to see the baby basket covered by a
        sheet. “She has the poor little kid covered up like a bloody parrot,” he told me. So I
        asked him to go at once to buy a square of mosquito netting to replace the sheet.
        Kate is quite a problem. She behaves like an Angel when she is here in my
        room but is rebellious when Sister shoos her out. She says she “Hates the Nanny”
        which is what she calls Mouche. Unfortunately it seems that she woke before midnight
        on the night Johnny Jo was born to find me gone and Mouche in my bed. According to
        Mouche, Kate wept all night and certainly when she visited me in the early morning
        Kate’s face was puffy with crying and she clung to me crying “Oh my dear mummy, why
        did you go away?” over and over again. Sister Marianne was touched and suggested
        that Mouche and Kate should come to the hospital as boarders as I am the only patient
        at present and there is plenty of room. Luckily Kate does not seem at all jealous of the
        baby and it is a great relief to have here here under my eye.

        Eleanor.

        #6262
        TracyTracy
        Participant

          From Tanganyika with Love

          continued  ~ part 3

          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

          Mchewe Estate. 22nd March 1935

          Dearest Family,

          I am feeling much better now that I am five months pregnant and have quite got
          my appetite back. Once again I go out with “the Mchewe Hunt” which is what George
          calls the procession made up of the donkey boy and donkey with Ann confidently riding
          astride, me beside the donkey with Georgie behind riding the stick which he much
          prefers to the donkey. The Alsatian pup, whom Ann for some unknown reason named
          ‘Tubbage’, and the two cats bring up the rear though sometimes Tubbage rushes
          ahead and nearly knocks me off my feet. He is not the loveable pet that Kelly was.
          It is just as well that I have recovered my health because my mother-in-law has
          decided to fly out from England to look after Ann and George when I am in hospital. I am
          very grateful for there is no one lse to whom I can turn. Kath Hickson-Wood is seldom on
          their farm because Hicky is working a guano claim and is making quite a good thing out of
          selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi. They camp out at the claim, a series of
          caves in the hills across the valley and visit the farm only occasionally. Anne Molteno is
          off to Cape Town to have her baby at her mothers home and there are no women in
          Mbeya I know well. The few women are Government Officials wives and they come
          and go. I make so few trips to the little town that there is no chance to get on really
          friendly terms with them.

          Janey, the ayah, is turning into a treasure. She washes and irons well and keeps
          the children’s clothes cupboard beautifully neat. Ann and George however are still
          reluctant to go for walks with her. They find her dull because, like all African ayahs, she
          has no imagination and cannot play with them. She should however be able to help with
          the baby. Ann is very excited about the new baby. She so loves all little things.
          Yesterday she went into ecstasies over ten newly hatched chicks.

          She wants a little sister and perhaps it would be a good thing. Georgie is so very
          active and full of mischief that I feel another wild little boy might be more than I can
          manage. Although Ann is older, it is Georgie who always thinks up the mischief. They
          have just been having a fight. Georgie with the cooks umbrella versus Ann with her frilly
          pink sunshade with the inevitable result that the sunshade now has four broken ribs.
          Any way I never feel lonely now during the long hours George is busy on the
          shamba. The children keep me on my toes and I have plenty of sewing to do for the
          baby. George is very good about amusing the children before their bedtime and on
          Sundays. In the afternoons when it is not wet I take Ann and Georgie for a walk down
          the hill. George meets us at the bottom and helps me on the homeward journey. He
          grabs one child in each hand by the slack of their dungarees and they do a sort of giant
          stride up the hill, half walking half riding.

          Very much love,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1935

          Dearest Family,

          A great flap here. We had a letter yesterday to say that mother-in-law will be
          arriving in four days time! George is very amused at my frantic efforts at spring cleaning
          but he has told me before that she is very house proud so I feel I must make the best
          of what we have.

          George is very busy building a store for the coffee which will soon be ripening.
          This time he is doing the bricklaying himself. It is quite a big building on the far end of the
          farm and close to the river. He is also making trays of chicken wire nailed to wooden
          frames with cheap calico stretched over the wire.

          Mother will have to sleep in the verandah room which leads off the bedroom
          which we share with the children. George will have to sleep in the outside spare room as
          there is no door between the bedroom and the verandah room. I am sewing frantically
          to make rose coloured curtains and bedspread out of material mother-in-law sent for
          Christmas and will have to make a curtain for the doorway. The kitchen badly needs
          whitewashing but George says he cannot spare the labour so I hope mother won’t look.
          To complicate matters, George has been invited to lunch with the Governor on the day
          of Mother’s arrival. After lunch they are to visit the newly stocked trout streams in the
          Mporotos. I hope he gets back to Mbeya in good time to meet mother’s plane.
          Ann has been off colour for a week. She looks very pale and her pretty fair hair,
          normally so shiny, is dull and lifeless. It is such a pity that mother should see her like this
          because first impressions do count so much and I am looking to the children to attract
          attention from me. I am the size of a circus tent and hardly a dream daughter-in-law.
          Georgie, thank goodness, is blooming but he has suddenly developed a disgusting
          habit of spitting on the floor in the manner of the natives. I feel he might say “Gran, look
          how far I can spit and give an enthusiastic demonstration.

          Just hold thumbs that all goes well.

          your loving but anxious,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 28th June 1935

          Dearest Family,

          Mother-in-law duly arrived in the District Commissioner’s car. George did not dare
          to use the A.C. as she is being very temperamental just now. They also brought the
          mail bag which contained a parcel of lovely baby clothes from you. Thank you very
          much. Mother-in-law is very put out because the large parcel she posted by surface
          mail has not yet arrived.

          Mother arrived looking very smart in an ankle length afternoon frock of golden
          brown crepe and smart hat, and wearing some very good rings. She is a very
          handsome woman with the very fair complexion that goes with red hair. The hair, once
          Titan, must now be grey but it has been very successfully tinted and set. I of course,
          was shapeless in a cotton maternity frock and no credit to you. However, so far, motherin-
          law has been uncritical and friendly and charmed with the children who have taken to
          her. Mother does not think that the children resemble me in any way. Ann resembles her
          family the Purdys and Georgie is a Morley, her mother’s family. She says they had the
          same dark eyes and rather full mouths. I say feebly, “But Georgie has my colouring”, but
          mother won’t hear of it. So now you know! Ann is a Purdy and Georgie a Morley.
          Perhaps number three will be a Leslie.

          What a scramble I had getting ready for mother. Her little room really looks pretty
          and fresh, but the locally woven grass mats arrived only minutes before mother did. I
          also frantically overhauled our clothes and it a good thing that I did so because mother
          has been going through all the cupboards looking for mending. Mother is kept so busy
          in her own home that I think she finds time hangs on her hands here. She is very good at
          entertaining the children and has even tried her hand at picking coffee a couple of times.
          Mother cannot get used to the native boy servants but likes Janey, so Janey keeps her
          room in order. Mother prefers to wash and iron her own clothes.

          I almost lost our cook through mother’s surplus energy! Abel our previous cook
          took a new wife last month and, as the new wife, and Janey the old, were daggers
          drawn, Abel moved off to a job on the Lupa leaving Janey and her daughter here.
          The new cook is capable, but he is a fearsome looking individual called Alfani. He has a
          thick fuzz of hair which he wears long, sometimes hidden by a dingy turban, and he
          wears big brass earrings. I think he must be part Somali because he has a hawk nose
          and a real Brigand look. His kitchen is never really clean but he is an excellent cook and
          as cooks are hard to come by here I just keep away from the kitchen. Not so mother!
          A few days after her arrival she suggested kindly that I should lie down after lunch
          so I rested with the children whilst mother, unknown to me, went out to the kitchen and
          not only scrubbed the table and shelves but took the old iron stove to pieces and
          cleaned that. Unfortunately in her zeal she poked a hole through the stove pipe.
          Had I known of these activities I would have foreseen the cook’s reaction when
          he returned that evening to cook the supper. he was furious and wished to leave on the
          spot and demanded his wages forthwith. The old Memsahib had insulted him by
          scrubbing his already spotless kitchen and had broken his stove and made it impossible
          for him to cook. This tirade was accompanied by such waving of hands and rolling of
          eyes that I longed to sack him on the spot. However I dared not as I might not get
          another cook for weeks. So I smoothed him down and he patched up the stove pipe
          with a bit of tin and some wire and produced a good meal. I am wondering what
          transformations will be worked when I am in hospital.

          Our food is really good but mother just pecks at it. No wonder really, because
          she has had some shocks. One day she found the kitchen boy diligently scrubbing the box lavatory seat with a scrubbing brush which he dipped into one of my best large
          saucepans! No one can foresee what these boys will do. In these remote areas house
          servants are usually recruited from the ranks of the very primitive farm labourers, who first
          come to the farm as naked savages, and their notions of hygiene simply don’t exist.
          One day I said to mother in George’s presence “When we were newly married,
          mother, George used to brag about your cooking and say that you would run a home
          like this yourself with perhaps one ‘toto’. Mother replied tartly, “That was very bad of
          George and not true. If my husband had brought me out here I would not have stayed a
          month. I think you manage very well.” Which reply made me warm to mother a lot.
          To complicate things we have a new pup, a little white bull terrier bitch whom
          George has named Fanny. She is tiny and not yet house trained but seems a plucky
          and attractive little animal though there is no denying that she does look like a piglet.

          Very much love to all,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 3rd August 1935

          Dearest Family,

          Here I am in hospital, comfortably in bed with our new daughter in her basket
          beside me. She is a lovely little thing, very plump and cuddly and pink and white and
          her head is covered with tiny curls the colour of Golden Syrup. We meant to call her
          Margery Kate, after our Marj and my mother-in-law whose name is Catherine.
          I am enjoying the rest, knowing that George and mother will be coping
          successfully on the farm. My room is full of flowers, particularly with the roses and
          carnations which grow so well here. Kate was not due until August 5th but the doctor
          wanted me to come in good time in view of my tiresome early pregnancy.

          For weeks beforehand George had tinkered with the A.C. and we started for
          Mbeya gaily enough on the twenty ninth, however, after going like a dream for a couple
          of miles, she simply collapsed from exhaustion at the foot of a hill and all the efforts of
          the farm boys who had been sent ahead for such an emergency failed to start her. So
          George sent back to the farm for the machila and I sat in the shade of a tree, wondering
          what would happen if I had the baby there and then, whilst George went on tinkering
          with the car. Suddenly she sprang into life and we roared up that hill and all the way into
          Mbeya. The doctor welcomed us pleasantly and we had tea with his family before I
          settled into my room. Later he examined me and said that it was unlikely that the baby
          would be born for several days. The new and efficient German nurse said, “Thank
          goodness for that.” There was a man in hospital dying from a stomach cancer and she
          had not had a decent nights sleep for three nights.

          Kate however had other plans. I woke in the early morning with labour pains but
          anxious not to disturb the nurse, I lay and read or tried to read a book, hoping that I
          would not have to call the nurse until daybreak. However at four a.m., I went out into the
          wind which was howling along the open verandah and knocked on the nurse’s door. She
          got up and very crossly informed me that I was imagining things and should get back to
          bed at once. She said “It cannot be so. The Doctor has said it.” I said “Of course it is,”
          and then and there the water broke and clinched my argument. She then went into a flat
          spin. “But the bed is not ready and my instruments are not ready,” and she flew around
          to rectify this and also sent an African orderly to call the doctor. I paced the floor saying
          warningly “Hurry up with that bed. I am going to have the baby now!” She shrieked
          “Take off your dressing gown.” But I was passed caring. I flung myself on the bed and
          there was Kate. The nurse had done all that was necessary by the time the doctor
          arrived.

          A funny thing was, that whilst Kate was being born on the bed, a black cat had
          kittens under it! The doctor was furious with the nurse but the poor thing must have crept
          in out of the cold wind when I went to call the nurse. A happy omen I feel for the baby’s
          future. George had no anxiety this time. He stayed at the hospital with me until ten
          o’clock when he went down to the hotel to sleep and he received the news in a note
          from me with his early morning tea. He went to the farm next morning but will return on
          the sixth to fetch me home.

          I do feel so happy. A very special husband and three lovely children. What
          more could anyone possibly want.

          Lots and lots of love,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 20th August 1935

          Dearest Family,

          Well here we are back at home and all is very well. The new baby is very placid
          and so pretty. Mother is delighted with her and Ann loved her at sight but Georgie is not
          so sure. At first he said, “Your baby is no good. Chuck her in the kalonga.” The kalonga
          being the ravine beside the house , where, I regret to say, much of the kitchen refuse is
          dumped. he is very jealous when I carry Kate around or feed her but is ready to admire
          her when she is lying alone in her basket.

          George walked all the way from the farm to fetch us home. He hired a car and
          native driver from the hotel, but drove us home himself going with such care over ruts
          and bumps. We had a great welcome from mother who had had the whole house
          spring cleaned. However George loyally says it looks just as nice when I am in charge.
          Mother obviously, had had more than enough of the back of beyond and
          decided to stay on only one week after my return home. She had gone into the kitchen
          one day just in time to see the houseboy scooping the custard he had spilt on the table
          back into the jug with the side of his hand. No doubt it would have been served up
          without a word. On another occasion she had walked in on the cook’s daily ablutions. He
          was standing in a small bowl of water in the centre of the kitchen, absolutely naked,
          enjoying a slipper bath. She left last Wednesday and gave us a big laugh before she
          left. She never got over her horror of eating food prepared by our cook and used to
          push it around her plate. Well, when the time came for mother to leave for the plane, she
          put on the very smart frock in which she had arrived, and then came into the sitting room
          exclaiming in dismay “Just look what has happened, I must have lost a stone!’ We
          looked, and sure enough, the dress which had been ankle deep before, now touched
          the floor. “Good show mother.” said George unfeelingly. “You ought to be jolly grateful,
          you needed to lose weight and it would have cost you the earth at a beauty parlour to
          get that sylph-like figure.”

          When mother left she took, in a perforated matchbox, one of the frilly mantis that
          live on our roses. She means to keep it in a goldfish bowl in her dining room at home.
          Georgie and Ann filled another matchbox with dead flies for food for the mantis on the
          journey.

          Now that mother has left, Georgie and Ann attach themselves to me and firmly
          refuse to have anything to do with the ayah,Janey. She in any case now wishes to have
          a rest. Mother tipped her well and gave her several cotton frocks so I suspect she wants
          to go back to her hometown in Northern Rhodesia to show off a bit.
          Georgie has just sidled up with a very roguish look. He asked “You like your
          baby?” I said “Yes indeed I do.” He said “I’ll prick your baby with a velly big thorn.”

          Who would be a mother!
          Eleanor

          Mchewe Estate. 20th September 1935

          Dearest Family,

          I have been rather in the wars with toothache and as there is still no dentist at
          Mbeya to do the fillings, I had to have four molars extracted at the hospital. George
          says it is fascinating to watch me at mealtimes these days because there is such a gleam
          of satisfaction in my eye when I do manage to get two teeth to meet on a mouthful.
          About those scissors Marj sent Ann. It was not such a good idea. First she cut off tufts of
          George’s hair so that he now looks like a bad case of ringworm and then she cut a scalp
          lock, a whole fist full of her own shining hair, which George so loves. George scolded
          Ann and she burst into floods of tears. Such a thing as a scolding from her darling daddy
          had never happened before. George immediately made a long drooping moustache
          out of the shorn lock and soon had her smiling again. George is always very gentle with
          Ann. One has to be , because she is frightfully sensitive to criticism.

          I am kept pretty busy these days, Janey has left and my houseboy has been ill
          with pneumonia. I now have to wash all the children’s things and my own, (the cook does
          George’s clothes) and look after the three children. Believe me, I can hardly keep awake
          for Kate’s ten o’clock feed.

          I do hope I shall get some new servants next month because I also got George
          to give notice to the cook. I intercepted him last week as he was storming down the hill
          with my large kitchen knife in his hand. “Where are you going with my knife?” I asked.
          “I’m going to kill a man!” said Alfani, rolling his eyes and looking extremely ferocious. “He
          has taken my wife.” “Not with my knife”, said I reaching for it. So off Alfani went, bent on
          vengeance and I returned the knife to the kitchen. Dinner was served and I made no
          enquiries but I feel that I need someone more restful in the kitchen than our brigand
          Alfani.

          George has been working on the car and has now fitted yet another radiator. This
          is a lorry one and much too tall to be covered by the A.C.’s elegant bonnet which is
          secured by an old strap. The poor old A.C. now looks like an ancient shoe with a turned
          up toe. It only needs me in it with the children to make a fine illustration to the old rhyme!
          Ann and Georgie are going through a climbing phase. They practically live in
          trees. I rushed out this morning to investigate loud screams and found Georgie hanging
          from a fork in a tree by one ankle, whilst Ann stood below on tiptoe with hands stretched
          upwards to support his head.

          Do I sound as though I have straws in my hair? I have.
          Lots of love,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 11th October 1935

          Dearest Family,

          Thank goodness! I have a new ayah name Mary. I had heard that there was a
          good ayah out of work at Tukuyu 60 miles away so sent a messenger to fetch her. She
          arrived after dark wearing a bright dress and a cheerful smile and looked very suitable by
          the light of a storm lamp. I was horrified next morning to see her in daylight. She was
          dressed all in black and had a rather sinister look. She reminds me rather of your old maid
          Candace who overheard me laughing a few days before Ann was born and croaked
          “Yes , Miss Eleanor, today you laugh but next week you might be dead.” Remember
          how livid you were, dad?

          I think Mary has the same grim philosophy. Ann took one look at her and said,
          “What a horrible old lady, mummy.” Georgie just said “Go away”, both in English and Ki-
          Swahili. Anyway Mary’s references are good so I shall keep her on to help with Kate
          who is thriving and bonny and placid.

          Thank you for the offer of toys for Christmas but, if you don’t mind, I’d rather have
          some clothing for the children. Ann is quite contented with her dolls Barbara and Yvonne.
          Barbara’s once beautiful face is now pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle having come
          into contact with Georgie’s ever busy hammer. However Ann says she will love her for
          ever and she doesn’t want another doll. Yvonne’s hay day is over too. She
          disappeared for weeks and we think Fanny, the pup, was the culprit. Ann discovered
          Yvonne one morning in some long wet weeds. Poor Yvonne is now a ghost of her
          former self. All the sophisticated make up was washed off her papier-mâché face and
          her hair is decidedly bedraggled, but Ann was radiant as she tucked her back into bed
          and Yvonne is as precious to Ann as she ever was.

          Georgie simply does not care for toys. His paint box, hammer and the trenching
          hoe George gave him for his second birthday are all he wants or needs. Both children
          love books but I sometimes wonder whether they stimulate Ann’s imagination too much.
          The characters all become friends of hers and she makes up stories about them to tell
          Georgie. She adores that illustrated children’s Bible Mummy sent her but you would be
          astonished at the yarns she spins about “me and my friend Jesus.” She also will call
          Moses “Old Noses”, and looking at a picture of Jacob’s dream, with the shining angels
          on the ladder between heaven and earth, she said “Georgie, if you see an angel, don’t
          touch it, it’s hot.”

          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 17th October 1935

          Dearest Family,

          I take back the disparaging things I said about my new Ayah, because she has
          proved her worth in an unexpected way. On Wednesday morning I settled Kate in he
          cot after her ten o’clock feed and sat sewing at the dining room table with Ann and
          Georgie opposite me, both absorbed in painting pictures in identical seed catalogues.
          Suddenly there was a terrific bang on the back door, followed by an even heavier blow.
          The door was just behind me and I got up and opened it. There, almost filling the door
          frame, stood a huge native with staring eyes and his teeth showing in a mad grimace. In
          his hand he held a rolled umbrella by the ferrule, the shaft I noticed was unusually long
          and thick and the handle was a big round knob.

          I was terrified as you can imagine, especially as, through the gap under the
          native’s raised arm, I could see the new cook and the kitchen boy running away down to
          the shamba! I hastily tried to shut and lock the door but the man just brushed me aside.
          For a moment he stood over me with the umbrella raised as though to strike. Rather
          fortunately, I now think, I was too petrified to say a word. The children never moved but
          Tubbage, the Alsatian, got up and jumped out of the window!

          Then the native turned away and still with the same fixed stare and grimace,
          began to attack the furniture with his umbrella. Tables and chairs were overturned and
          books and ornaments scattered on the floor. When the madman had his back turned and
          was busily bashing the couch, I slipped round the dining room table, took Ann and
          Georgie by the hand and fled through the front door to the garage where I hid the
          children in the car. All this took several minutes because naturally the children were
          terrified. I was worried to death about the baby left alone in the bedroom and as soon
          as I had Ann and Georgie settled I ran back to the house.

          I reached the now open front door just as Kianda the houseboy opened the back
          door of the lounge. He had been away at the river washing clothes but, on hearing of the
          madman from the kitchen boy he had armed himself with a stout stick and very pluckily,
          because he is not a robust boy, had returned to the house to eject the intruder. He
          rushed to attack immediately and I heard a terrific exchange of blows behind me as I
          opened our bedroom door. You can imagine what my feelings were when I was
          confronted by an empty cot! Just then there was an uproar inside as all the farm
          labourers armed with hoes and pangas and sticks, streamed into the living room from the
          shamba whence they had been summoned by the cook. In no time at all the huge
          native was hustled out of the house, flung down the front steps, and securely tied up
          with strips of cloth.

          In the lull that followed I heard a frightened voice calling from the bathroom.
          ”Memsahib is that you? The child is here with me.” I hastily opened the bathroom door
          to find Mary couched in a corner by the bath, shielding Kate with her body. Mary had
          seen the big native enter the house and her first thought had been for her charge. I
          thanked her and promised her a reward for her loyalty, and quickly returned to the garage
          to reassure Ann and Georgie. I met George who looked white and exhausted as well
          he might having run up hill all the way from the coffee store. The kitchen boy had led him
          to expect the worst and he was most relieved to find us all unhurt if a bit shaken.
          We returned to the house by the back way whilst George went to the front and
          ordered our labourers to take their prisoner and lock him up in the store. George then
          discussed the whole affair with his Headman and all the labourers after which he reported
          to me. “The boys say that the bastard is an ex-Askari from Nyasaland. He is not mad as
          you thought but he smokes bhang and has these attacks. I suppose I should take him to
          Mbeya and have him up in court. But if I do that you’ll have to give evidence and that will be a nuisance as the car won’t go and there is also the baby to consider.”

          Eventually we decided to leave the man to sleep off the effects of the Bhang
          until evening when he would be tried before an impromptu court consisting of George,
          the local Jumbe(Headman) and village Elders, and our own farm boys and any other
          interested spectators. It was not long before I knew the verdict because I heard the
          sound of lashes. I was not sorry at all because I felt the man deserved his punishment
          and so did all the Africans. They love children and despise anyone who harms or
          frightens them. With great enthusiasm they frog-marched him off our land, and I sincerely
          hope that that is the last we see or him. Ann and Georgie don’t seem to brood over this
          affair at all. The man was naughty and he was spanked, a quite reasonable state of
          affairs. This morning they hid away in the small thatched chicken house. This is a little brick
          building about four feet square which Ann covets as a dolls house. They came back
          covered in stick fleas which I had to remove with paraffin. My hens are laying well but
          they all have the ‘gapes’! I wouldn’t run a chicken farm for anything, hens are such fussy,
          squawking things.

          Now don’t go worrying about my experience with the native. Such things
          happen only once in a lifetime. We are all very well and happy, and life, apart from the
          children’s pranks is very tranquil.

          Lots and lots of love,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 25th October 1935

          Dearest Family,

          The hot winds have dried up the shamba alarmingly and we hope every day for
          rain. The prices for coffee, on the London market, continue to be low and the local
          planters are very depressed. Coffee grows well enough here but we are over 400
          miles from the railway and transport to the railhead by lorry is very expensive. Then, as
          there is no East African Marketing Board, the coffee must be shipped to England for
          sale. Unless the coffee fetches at least 90 pounds a ton it simply doesn’t pay to grow it.
          When we started planting in 1931 coffee was fetching as much as 115 pounds a ton but
          prices this year were between 45 and 55 pounds. We have practically exhausted our
          capitol and so have all our neighbours. The Hickson -Woods have been keeping their
          pot boiling by selling bat guano to the coffee farmers at Mbosi but now everyone is
          broke and there is not a market for fertilisers. They are offering their farm for sale at a very
          low price.

          Major Jones has got a job working on the district roads and Max Coster talks of
          returning to his work as a geologist. George says he will have to go gold digging on the
          Lupa unless there is a big improvement in the market. Luckily we can live quite cheaply
          here. We have a good vegetable garden, milk is cheap and we have plenty of fruit.
          There are mulberries, pawpaws, grenadillas, peaches, and wine berries. The wine
          berries are very pretty but insipid though Ann and Georgie love them. Each morning,
          before breakfast, the old garden boy brings berries for Ann and Georgie. With a thorn
          the old man pins a large leaf from a wild fig tree into a cone which he fills with scarlet wine
          berries. There is always a cone for each child and they wait eagerly outside for the daily
          ceremony of presentation.

          The rats are being a nuisance again. Both our cats, Skinny Winnie and Blackboy
          disappeared a few weeks ago. We think they made a meal for a leopard. I wrote last
          week to our grocer at Mbalizi asking him whether he could let us have a couple of kittens
          as I have often seen cats in his store. The messenger returned with a nailed down box.
          The kitchen boy was called to prize up the lid and the children stood by in eager
          anticipation. Out jumped two snarling and spitting creatures. One rushed into the kalonga
          and the other into the house and before they were captured they had drawn blood from
          several boys. I told the boys to replace the cats in the box as I intended to return them
          forthwith. They had the colouring, stripes and dispositions of wild cats and I certainly
          didn’t want them as pets, but before the boys could replace the lid the cats escaped
          once more into the undergrowth in the kalonga. George fetched his shotgun and said he
          would shoot the cats on sight or they would kill our chickens. This was more easily said
          than done because the cats could not be found. However during the night the cats
          climbed up into the loft af the house and we could hear them moving around on the reed
          ceiling.

          I said to George,”Oh leave the poor things. At least they might frighten the rats
          away.” That afternoon as we were having tea a thin stream of liquid filtered through the
          ceiling on George’s head. Oh dear!!! That of course was the end. Some raw meat was
          put on the lawn for bait and yesterday George shot both cats.

          I regret to end with the sad story of Mary, heroine in my last letter and outcast in
          this. She came to work quite drunk two days running and I simply had to get rid of her. I
          have heard since from Kath Wood that Mary lost her last job at Tukuyu for the same
          reason. She was ayah to twin girls and one day set their pram on fire.

          So once again my hands are more than full with three lively children. I did say
          didn’t I, when Ann was born that I wanted six children?

          Very much love from us all, Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 8th November 1935

          Dearest Family,

          To set your minds at rest I must tell you that the native who so frightened me and
          the children is now in jail for attacking a Greek at Mbalizi. I hear he is to be sent back to
          Rhodesia when he has finished his sentence.

          Yesterday we had one of our rare trips to Mbeya. George managed to get a couple of
          second hand tyres for the old car and had again got her to work so we are celebrating our
          wedding anniversary by going on an outing. I wore the green and fawn striped silk dress
          mother bought me and the hat and shoes you sent for my birthday and felt like a million
          dollars, for a change. The children all wore new clothes too and I felt very proud of them.
          Ann is still very fair and with her refined little features and straight silky hair she
          looks like Alice in Wonderland. Georgie is dark and sturdy and looks best in khaki shirt
          and shorts and sun helmet. Kate is a pink and gold baby and looks good enough to eat.
          We went straight to the hotel at Mbeya and had the usual warm welcome from
          Ken and Aunty May Menzies. Aunty May wears her hair cut short like a mans and
          usually wears shirt and tie and riding breeches and boots. She always looks ready to go
          on safari at a moments notice as indeed she is. She is often called out to a case of illness
          at some remote spot.

          There were lots of people at the hotel from farms in the district and from the
          diggings. I met women I had not seen for four years. One, a Mrs Masters from Tukuyu,
          said in the lounge, “My God! Last time I saw you , you were just a girl and here you are
          now with two children.” To which I replied with pride, “There is another one in a pram on
          the verandah if you care to look!” Great hilarity in the lounge. The people from the
          diggings seem to have plenty of money to throw around. There was a big party on the
          go in the bar.

          One of our shamba boys died last Friday and all his fellow workers and our
          house boys had the day off to attend the funeral. From what I can gather the local
          funerals are quite cheery affairs. The corpse is dressed in his best clothes and laid
          outside his hut and all who are interested may view the body and pay their respects.
          The heir then calls upon anyone who had a grudge against the dead man to say his say
          and thereafter hold his tongue forever. Then all the friends pay tribute to the dead man
          after which he is buried to the accompaniment of what sounds from a distance, very
          cheerful keening.

          Most of our workmen are pagans though there is a Lutheran Mission nearby and
          a big Roman Catholic Mission in the area too. My present cook, however, claims to be
          a Christian. He certainly went to a mission school and can read and write and also sing
          hymns in Ki-Swahili. When I first engaged him I used to find a large open Bible
          prominently displayed on the kitchen table. The cook is middle aged and arrived here
          with a sensible matronly wife. To my surprise one day he brought along a young girl,
          very plump and giggly and announced proudly that she was his new wife, I said,”But I
          thought you were a Christian Jeremiah? Christians don’t have two wives.” To which he
          replied, “Oh Memsahib, God won’t mind. He knows an African needs two wives – one
          to go with him when he goes away to work and one to stay behind at home to cultivate
          the shamba.

          Needles to say, it is the old wife who has gone to till the family plot.

          With love to all,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 21st November 1935

          Dearest Family,

          The drought has broken with a bang. We had a heavy storm in the hills behind
          the house. Hail fell thick and fast. So nice for all the tiny new berries on the coffee! The
          kids loved the excitement and three times Ann and Georgie ran out for a shower under
          the eaves and had to be changed. After the third time I was fed up and made them both
          lie on their beds whilst George and I had lunch in peace. I told Ann to keep the
          casement shut as otherwise the rain would drive in on her bed. Half way through lunch I
          heard delighted squeals from Georgie and went into the bedroom to investigate. Ann
          was standing on the outer sill in the rain but had shut the window as ordered. “Well
          Mummy , you didn’t say I mustn’t stand on the window sill, and I did shut the window.”
          George is working so hard on the farm. I have a horrible feeling however that it is
          what the Africans call ‘Kazi buri’ (waste of effort) as there seems no chance of the price of
          coffee improving as long as this world depression continues. The worry is that our capitol
          is nearly exhausted. Food is becoming difficult now that our neighbours have left. I used
          to buy delicious butter from Kath Hickson-Wood and an African butcher used to kill a
          beast once a week. Now that we are his only European customers he very rarely kills
          anything larger than a goat, and though we do eat goat, believe me it is not from choice.
          We have of course got plenty to eat, but our diet is very monotonous. I was
          delighted when George shot a large bushbuck last week. What we could not use I cut
          into strips and the salted strips are now hanging in the open garage to dry.

          With love to all,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 6th December 1935

          Dearest Family,

          We have had a lot of rain and the countryside is lovely and green. Last week
          George went to Mbeya taking Ann with him. This was a big adventure for Ann because
          never before had she been anywhere without me. She was in a most blissful state as
          she drove off in the old car clutching a little basket containing sandwiches and half a bottle
          of milk. She looked so pretty in a new blue frock and with her tiny plaits tied with
          matching blue ribbons. When Ann is animated she looks charming because her normally
          pale cheeks become rosy and she shows her pretty dimples.

          As I am still without an ayah I rather looked forward to a quiet morning with only
          Georgie and Margery Kate to care for, but Georgie found it dull without Ann and wanted
          to be entertained and even the normally placid baby was peevish. Then in mid morning
          the rain came down in torrents, the result of a cloudburst in the hills directly behind our
          house. The ravine next to our house was a terrifying sight. It appeared to be a great
          muddy, roaring waterfall reaching from the very top of the hill to a point about 30 yards
          behind our house and then the stream rushed on down the gorge in an angry brown
          flood. The roar of the water was so great that we had to yell at one another to be heard.
          By lunch time the rain had stopped and I anxiously awaited the return of Ann and
          George. They returned on foot, drenched and hungry at about 2.30pm . George had
          had to abandon the car on the main road as the Mchewe River had overflowed and
          turned the road into a muddy lake. The lower part of the shamba had also been flooded
          and the water receded leaving branches and driftwood amongst the coffee. This was my
          first experience of a real tropical storm. I am afraid that after the battering the coffee has
          had there is little hope of a decent crop next year.

          Anyway Christmas is coming so we don’t dwell on these mishaps. The children
          have already chosen their tree from amongst the young cypresses in the vegetable
          garden. We all send our love and hope that you too will have a Happy Christmas.

          Eleanor

          Mchewe Estate. 22nd December 1935

          Dearest Family,

          I’ve been in the wars with my staff. The cook has been away ill for ten days but is
          back today though shaky and full of self pity. The houseboy, who really has been a brick
          during the cooks absence has now taken to his bed and I feel like taking to Mine! The
          children however have the Christmas spirit and are making weird and wonderful paper
          decorations. George’s contribution was to have the house whitewashed throughout and
          it looks beautifully fresh.

          My best bit of news is that my old ayah Janey has been to see me and would
          like to start working here again on Jan 1st. We are all very well. We meant to give
          ourselves an outing to Mbeya as a Christmas treat but here there is an outbreak of
          enteric fever there so will now not go. We have had two visitors from the Diggings this
          week. The children see so few strangers that they were fascinated and hung around
          staring. Ann sat down on the arm of the couch beside one and studied his profile.
          Suddenly she announced in her clear voice, “Mummy do you know, this man has got
          wax in his ears!” Very awkward pause in the conversation. By the way when I was
          cleaning out little Kate’s ears with a swab of cotton wool a few days ago, Ann asked
          “Mummy, do bees have wax in their ears? Well, where do you get beeswax from
          then?”

          I meant to keep your Christmas parcel unopened until Christmas Eve but could
          not resist peeping today. What lovely things! Ann so loves pretties and will be
          delighted with her frocks. My dress is just right and I love Georgie’s manly little flannel
          shorts and blue shirt. We have bought them each a watering can. I suppose I shall
          regret this later. One of your most welcome gifts is the album of nursery rhyme records. I
          am so fed up with those that we have. Both children love singing. I put a record on the
          gramophone geared to slow and off they go . Georgie sings more slowly than Ann but
          much more tunefully. Ann sings in a flat monotone but Georgie with great expression.
          You ought to hear him render ‘Sing a song of sixpence’. He cannot pronounce an R or
          an S. Mother has sent a large home made Christmas pudding and a fine Christmas
          cake and George will shoot some partridges for Christmas dinner.
          Think of us as I shall certainly think of you.

          Your very loving,
          Eleanor.

          Mchewe Estate. 2nd January 1936

          Dearest Family,

          Christmas was fun! The tree looked very gay with its load of tinsel, candles and
          red crackers and the coloured balloons you sent. All the children got plenty of toys
          thanks to Grandparents and Aunts. George made Ann a large doll’s bed and I made
          some elegant bedding, Barbara, the big doll is now permanently bed ridden. Her poor
          shattered head has come all unstuck and though I have pieced it together again it is a sad
          sight. If you have not yet chosen a present for her birthday next month would you
          please get a new head from the Handy House. I enclose measurements. Ann does so
          love the doll. She always calls her, “My little girl”, and she keeps the doll’s bed beside
          her own and never fails to kiss her goodnight.

          We had no guests for Christmas this year but we were quite festive. Ann
          decorated the dinner table with small pink roses and forget-me-knots and tinsel and the
          crackers from the tree. It was a wet day but we played the new records and both
          George and I worked hard to make it a really happy day for the children. The children
          were hugely delighted when George made himself a revolting set of false teeth out of
          plasticine and a moustache and beard of paper straw from a chocolate box. “Oh Daddy
          you look exactly like Father Christmas!” cried an enthralled Ann. Before bedtime we lit
          all the candles on the tree and sang ‘Away in a Manger’, and then we opened the box of
          starlights you sent and Ann and Georgie had their first experience of fireworks.
          After the children went to bed things deteriorated. First George went for his bath
          and found and killed a large black snake in the bathroom. It must have been in the
          bathroom when I bathed the children earlier in the evening. Then I developed bad
          toothache which kept me awake all night and was agonising next day. Unfortunately the
          bridge between the farm and Mbeya had been washed away and the water was too
          deep for the car to ford until the 30th when at last I was able to take my poor swollen
          face to Mbeya. There is now a young German woman dentist working at the hospital.
          She pulled out the offending molar which had a large abscess attached to it.
          Whilst the dentist attended to me, Ann and Georgie played happily with the
          doctor’s children. I wish they could play more often with other children. Dr Eckhardt was
          very pleased with Margery Kate who at seven months weighs 17 lbs and has lovely
          rosy cheeks. He admired Ann and told her that she looked just like a German girl. “No I
          don’t”, cried Ann indignantly, “I’m English!”

          We were caught in a rain storm going home and as the old car still has no
          windscreen or side curtains we all got soaked except for the baby who was snugly
          wrapped in my raincoat. The kids thought it great fun. Ann is growing up fast now. She
          likes to ‘help mummy’. She is a perfectionist at four years old which is rather trying. She
          gets so discouraged when things do not turn out as well as she means them to. Sewing
          is constantly being unpicked and paintings torn up. She is a very sensitive child.
          Georgie is quite different. He is a man of action, but not silent. He talks incessantly
          but lisps and stumbles over some words. At one time Ann and Georgie often
          conversed in Ki-Swahili but they now scorn to do so. If either forgets and uses a Swahili
          word, the other points a scornful finger and shouts “You black toto”.

          With love to all,
          Eleanor.

          #6261
          TracyTracy
          Participant

            From Tanganyika with Love

            continued

            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

            Mchewe Estate. 11th July 1931.

            Dearest Family,

            You say that you would like to know more about our neighbours. Well there is
            not much to tell. Kath Wood is very good about coming over to see me. I admire her
            very much because she is so capable as well as being attractive. She speaks very
            fluent Ki-Swahili and I envy her the way she can carry on a long conversation with the
            natives. I am very slow in learning the language possibly because Lamek and the
            houseboy both speak basic English.

            I have very little to do with the Africans apart from the house servants, but I do
            run a sort of clinic for the wives and children of our employees. The children suffer chiefly
            from sore eyes and worms, and the older ones often have bad ulcers on their legs. All
            farmers keep a stock of drugs and bandages.

            George also does a bit of surgery and last month sewed up the sole of the foot
            of a boy who had trodden on the blade of a panga, a sort of sword the Africans use for
            hacking down bush. He made an excellent job of it. George tells me that the Africans
            have wonderful powers of recuperation. Once in his bachelor days, one of his men was
            disembowelled by an elephant. George washed his “guts” in a weak solution of
            pot.permang, put them back in the cavity and sewed up the torn flesh and he
            recovered.

            But to get back to the neighbours. We see less of Hicky Wood than of Kath.
            Hicky can be charming but is often moody as I believe Irishmen often are.
            Major Jones is now at home on his shamba, which he leaves from time to time
            for temporary jobs on the district roads. He walks across fairly regularly and we are
            always glad to see him for he is a great bearer of news. In this part of Africa there is no
            knocking or ringing of doorbells. Front doors are always left open and visitors always
            welcome. When a visitor approaches a house he shouts “Hodi”, and the owner of the
            house yells “Karibu”, which I believe means “Come near” or approach, and tea is
            produced in a matter of minutes no matter what hour of the day it is.
            The road that passes all our farms is the only road to the Gold Diggings and
            diggers often drop in on the Woods and Major Jones and bring news of the Goldfields.
            This news is sometimes about gold but quite often about whose wife is living with
            whom. This is a great country for gossip.

            Major Jones now has his brother Llewyllen living with him. I drove across with
            George to be introduced to him. Llewyllen’s health is poor and he looks much older than
            his years and very like the portrait of Trader Horn. He has the same emaciated features,
            burning eyes and long beard. He is proud of his Welsh tenor voice and often bursts into
            song.

            Both brothers are excellent conversationalists and George enjoys walking over
            sometimes on a Sunday for a bit of masculine company. The other day when George
            walked across to visit the Joneses, he found both brothers in the shamba and Llew in a
            great rage. They had been stooping to inspect a water furrow when Llew backed into a
            hornets nest. One furious hornet stung him on the seat and another on the back of his
            neck. Llew leapt forward and somehow his false teeth shot out into the furrow and were
            carried along by the water. When George arrived Llew had retrieved his teeth but
            George swears that, in the commotion, the heavy leather leggings, which Llew always
            wears, had swivelled around on his thin legs and were calves to the front.
            George has heard that Major Jones is to sell pert of his land to his Swedish brother-in-law, Max Coster, so we will soon have another couple in the neighbourhood.

            I’ve had a bit of a pantomime here on the farm. On the day we went to Tukuyu,
            all our washing was stolen from the clothes line and also our new charcoal iron. George
            reported the matter to the police and they sent out a plain clothes policeman. He wears
            the long white Arab gown called a Kanzu much in vogue here amongst the African elite
            but, alas for secrecy, huge black police boots protrude from beneath the Kanzu and, to
            add to this revealing clue, the askari springs to attention and salutes each time I pass by.
            Not much hope of finding out the identity of the thief I fear.

            George’s furrow was entirely successful and we now have water running behind
            the kitchen. Our drinking water we get from a lovely little spring on the farm. We boil and
            filter it for safety’s sake. I don’t think that is necessary. The furrow water is used for
            washing pots and pans and for bath water.

            Lots of love,
            Eleanor

            Mchewe Estate. 8th. August 1931

            Dearest Family,

            I think it is about time I told you that we are going to have a baby. We are both
            thrilled about it. I have not seen a Doctor but feel very well and you are not to worry. I
            looked it up in my handbook for wives and reckon that the baby is due about February
            8th. next year.

            The announcement came from George, not me! I had been feeling queasy for
            days and was waiting for the right moment to tell George. You know. Soft lights and
            music etc. However when I was listlessly poking my food around one lunch time
            George enquired calmly, “When are you going to tell me about the baby?” Not at all
            according to the book! The problem is where to have the baby. February is a very wet
            month and the nearest Doctor is over 50 miles away at Tukuyu. I cannot go to stay at
            Tukuyu because there is no European accommodation at the hospital, no hotel and no
            friend with whom I could stay.

            George thinks I should go South to you but Capetown is so very far away and I
            love my little home here. Also George says he could not come all the way down with
            me as he simply must stay here and get the farm on its feet. He would drive me as far
            as the railway in Northern Rhodesia. It is a difficult decision to take. Write and tell me what
            you think.

            The days tick by quietly here. The servants are very willing but have to be
            supervised and even then a crisis can occur. Last Saturday I was feeling squeamish and
            decided not to have lunch. I lay reading on the couch whilst George sat down to a
            solitary curry lunch. Suddenly he gave an exclamation and pushed back his chair. I
            jumped up to see what was wrong and there, on his plate, gleaming in the curry gravy
            were small bits of broken glass. I hurried to the kitchen to confront Lamek with the plate.
            He explained that he had dropped the new and expensive bottle of curry powder on
            the brick floor of the kitchen. He did not tell me as he thought I would make a “shauri” so
            he simply scooped up the curry powder, removed the larger pieces of glass and used
            part of the powder for seasoning the lunch.

            The weather is getting warmer now. It was very cold in June and July and we had
            fires in the daytime as well as at night. Now that much of the land has been cleared we
            are able to go for pleasant walks in the weekends. My favourite spot is a waterfall on the
            Mchewe River just on the boundary of our land. There is a delightful little pool below the
            waterfall and one day George intends to stock it with trout.

            Now that there are more Europeans around to buy meat the natives find it worth
            their while to kill an occasional beast. Every now and again a native arrives with a large
            bowl of freshly killed beef for sale. One has no way of knowing whether the animal was
            healthy and the meat is often still warm and very bloody. I hated handling it at first but am
            becoming accustomed to it now and have even started a brine tub. There is no other
            way of keeping meat here and it can only be kept in its raw state for a few hours before
            going bad. One of the delicacies is the hump which all African cattle have. When corned
            it is like the best brisket.

            See what a housewife I am becoming.
            With much love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. Sept.6th. 1931

            Dearest Family,

            I have grown to love the life here and am sad to think I shall be leaving
            Tanganyika soon for several months. Yes I am coming down to have the baby in the
            bosom of the family. George thinks it best and so does the doctor. I didn’t mention it
            before but I have never recovered fully from the effects of that bad bout of malaria and
            so I have been persuaded to leave George and our home and go to the Cape, in the
            hope that I shall come back here as fit as when I first arrived in the country plus a really
            healthy and bouncing baby. I am torn two ways, I long to see you all – but how I would
            love to stay on here.

            George will drive me down to Northern Rhodesia in early October to catch a
            South bound train. I’ll telegraph the date of departure when I know it myself. The road is
            very, very bad and the car has been giving a good deal of trouble so, though the baby
            is not due until early February, George thinks it best to get the journey over soon as
            possible, for the rains break in November and the the roads will then be impassable. It
            may take us five or six days to reach Broken Hill as we will take it slowly. I am looking
            forward to the drive through new country and to camping out at night.
            Our days pass quietly by. George is out on the shamba most of the day. He
            goes out before breakfast on weekdays and spends most of the day working with the
            men – not only supervising but actually working with his hands and beating the labourers
            at their own jobs. He comes to the house for meals and tea breaks. I potter around the
            house and garden, sew, mend and read. Lamek continues to be a treasure. he turns out
            some surprising dishes. One of his specialities is stuffed chicken. He carefully skins the
            chicken removing all bones. He then minces all the chicken meat and adds minced onion
            and potatoes. He then stuffs the chicken skin with the minced meat and carefully sews it
            together again. The resulting dish is very filling because the boned chicken is twice the
            size of a normal one. It lies on its back as round as a football with bloated legs in the air.
            Rather repulsive to look at but Lamek is most proud of his accomplishment.
            The other day he produced another of his masterpieces – a cooked tortoise. It
            was served on a dish covered with parsley and crouched there sans shell but, only too
            obviously, a tortoise. I took one look and fled with heaving diaphragm, but George said
            it tasted quite good. He tells me that he has had queerer dishes produced by former
            cooks. He says that once in his hunting days his cook served up a skinned baby
            monkey with its hands folded on its breast. He says it would take a cannibal to eat that
            dish.

            And now for something sad. Poor old Llew died quite suddenly and it was a sad
            shock to this tiny community. We went across to the funeral and it was a very simple and
            dignified affair. Llew was buried on Joni’s farm in a grave dug by the farm boys. The
            body was wrapped in a blanket and bound to some boards and lowered into the
            ground. There was no service. The men just said “Good-bye Llew.” and “Sleep well
            Llew”, and things like that. Then Joni and his brother-in-law Max, and George shovelled
            soil over the body after which the grave was filled in by Joni’s shamba boys. It was a
            lovely bright afternoon and I thought how simple and sensible a funeral it was.
            I hope you will be glad to have me home. I bet Dad will be holding thumbs that
            the baby will be a girl.

            Very much love,
            Eleanor.

            Note
            “There are no letters to my family during the period of Sept. 1931 to June 1932
            because during these months I was living with my parents and sister in a suburb of
            Cape Town. I had hoped to return to Tanganyika by air with my baby soon after her
            birth in Feb.1932 but the doctor would not permit this.

            A month before my baby was born, a company called Imperial Airways, had
            started the first passenger service between South Africa and England. One of the night
            stops was at Mbeya near my husband’s coffee farm, and it was my intention to take the
            train to Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia and to fly from there to Mbeya with my month
            old baby. In those days however, commercial flying was still a novelty and the doctor
            was not sure that flying at a high altitude might not have an adverse effect upon a young
            baby.

            He strongly advised me to wait until the baby was four months old and I did this
            though the long wait was very trying to my husband alone on our farm in Tanganyika,
            and to me, cherished though I was in my old home.

            My story, covering those nine long months is soon told. My husband drove me
            down from Mbeya to Broken Hill in NorthernRhodesia. The journey was tedious as the
            weather was very hot and dry and the road sandy and rutted, very different from the
            Great North road as it is today. The wooden wheel spokes of the car became so dry
            that they rattled and George had to bind wet rags around them. We had several
            punctures and with one thing and another I was lucky to catch the train.
            My parents were at Cape Town station to welcome me and I stayed
            comfortably with them, living very quietly, until my baby was born. She arrived exactly
            on the appointed day, Feb.8th.

            I wrote to my husband “Our Charmian Ann is a darling baby. She is very fair and
            rather pale and has the most exquisite hands, with long tapering fingers. Daddy
            absolutely dotes on her and so would you, if you were here. I can’t bear to think that you
            are so terribly far away. Although Ann was born exactly on the day, I was taken quite by
            surprise. It was awfully hot on the night before, and before going to bed I had a fancy for
            some water melon. The result was that when I woke in the early morning with labour
            pains and vomiting I thought it was just an attack of indigestion due to eating too much
            melon. The result was that I did not wake Marjorie until the pains were pretty frequent.
            She called our next door neighbour who, in his pyjamas, drove me to the nursing home
            at breakneck speed. The Matron was very peeved that I had left things so late but all
            went well and by nine o’clock, Mother, positively twittering with delight, was allowed to
            see me and her first granddaughter . She told me that poor Dad was in such a state of
            nerves that he was sick amongst the grapevines. He says that he could not bear to go
            through such an anxious time again, — so we will have to have our next eleven in
            Tanganyika!”

            The next four months passed rapidly as my time was taken up by the demands
            of my new baby. Dr. Trudy King’s method of rearing babies was then the vogue and I
            stuck fanatically to all the rules he laid down, to the intense exasperation of my parents
            who longed to cuddle the child.

            As the time of departure drew near my parents became more and more reluctant
            to allow me to face the journey alone with their adored grandchild, so my brother,
            Graham, very generously offered to escort us on the train to Broken Hill where he could
            put us on the plane for Mbeya.

            Eleanor Rushby

             

            Mchewe Estate. June 15th 1932

            Dearest Family,

            You’ll be glad to know that we arrived quite safe and sound and very, very
            happy to be home.The train Journey was uneventful. Ann slept nearly all the way.
            Graham was very kind and saw to everything. He even sat with the baby whilst I went
            to meals in the dining car.

            We were met at Broken Hill by the Thoms who had arranged accommodation for
            us at the hotel for the night. They also drove us to the aerodrome in the morning where
            the Airways agent told us that Ann is the first baby to travel by air on this section of the
            Cape to England route. The plane trip was very bumpy indeed especially between
            Broken Hill and Mpika. Everyone was ill including poor little Ann who sicked up her milk
            all over the front of my new coat. I arrived at Mbeya looking a sorry caricature of Radiant
            Motherhood. I must have been pale green and the baby was snow white. Under the
            circumstances it was a good thing that George did not meet us. We were met instead
            by Ken Menzies, the owner of the Mbeya Hotel where we spent the night. Ken was
            most fatherly and kind and a good nights rest restored Ann and me to our usual robust
            health.

            Mbeya has greatly changed. The hotel is now finished and can accommodate
            fifty guests. It consists of a large main building housing a large bar and dining room and
            offices and a number of small cottage bedrooms. It even has electric light. There are
            several buildings out at the aerodrome and private houses going up in Mbeya.
            After breakfast Ken Menzies drove us out to the farm where we had a warm
            welcome from George, who looks well but rather thin. The house was spotless and the
            new cook, Abel, had made light scones for tea. George had prepared all sorts of lovely
            surprises. There is a new reed ceiling in the living room and a new dresser gay with
            willow pattern plates which he had ordered from England. There is also a writing table
            and a square table by the door for visitors hats. More personal is a lovely model ship
            which George assembled from one of those Hobbie’s kits. It puts the finishing touch to
            the rather old world air of our living room.

            In the bedroom there is a large double bed which George made himself. It has
            strips of old car tyres nailed to a frame which makes a fine springy mattress and on top
            of this is a thick mattress of kapok.In the kitchen there is a good wood stove which
            George salvaged from a Mission dump. It looks a bit battered but works very well. The
            new cook is excellent. The only blight is that he will wear rubber soled tennis shoes and
            they smell awful. I daren’t hurt his feelings by pointing this out though. Opposite the
            kitchen is a new laundry building containing a forty gallon hot water drum and a sink for
            washing up. Lovely!

            George has been working very hard. He now has forty acres of coffee seedlings
            planted out and has also found time to plant a rose garden and fruit trees. There are
            orange and peach trees, tree tomatoes, paw paws, guavas and berries. He absolutely
            adores Ann who has been very good and does not seem at all unsettled by the long
            journey.

            It is absolutely heavenly to be back and I shall be happier than ever now that I
            have a baby to play with during the long hours when George is busy on the farm,
            Thank you for all your love and care during the many months I was with you. Ann
            sends a special bubble for granddad.

            Your very loving,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate Mbeya July 18th 1932

            Dearest Family,

            Ann at five months is enchanting. She is a very good baby, smiles readily and is
            gaining weight steadily. She doesn’t sleep much during the day but that does not
            matter, because, apart from washing her little things, I have nothing to do but attend to
            her. She sleeps very well at night which is a blessing as George has to get up very
            early to start work on the shamba and needs a good nights rest.
            My nights are not so good, because we are having a plague of rats which frisk
            around in the bedroom at night. Great big ones that come up out of the long grass in the
            gorge beside the house and make cosy homes on our reed ceiling and in the thatch of
            the roof.

            We always have a night light burning so that, if necessary, I can attend to Ann
            with a minimum of fuss, and the things I see in that dim light! There are gaps between
            the reeds and one night I heard, plop! and there, before my horrified gaze, lay a newly
            born hairless baby rat on the floor by the bed, plop, plop! and there lay two more.
            Quite dead, poor things – but what a careless mother.

            I have also seen rats scampering around on the tops of the mosquito nets and
            sometimes we have them on our bed. They have a lovely game. They swarm down
            the cord from which the mosquito net is suspended, leap onto the bed and onto the
            floor. We do not have our net down now the cold season is here and there are few
            mosquitoes.

            Last week a rat crept under Ann’s net which hung to the floor and bit her little
            finger, so now I tuck the net in under the mattress though it makes it difficult for me to
            attend to her at night. We shall have to get a cat somewhere. Ann’s pram has not yet
            arrived so George carries her when we go walking – to her great content.
            The native women around here are most interested in Ann. They come to see
            her, bearing small gifts, and usually bring a child or two with them. They admire my child
            and I admire theirs and there is an exchange of gifts. They produce a couple of eggs or
            a few bananas or perhaps a skinny fowl and I hand over sugar, salt or soap as they
            value these commodities. The most lavish gift went to the wife of Thomas our headman,
            who produced twin daughters in the same week as I had Ann.

            Our neighbours have all been across to welcome me back and to admire the
            baby. These include Marion Coster who came out to join her husband whilst I was in
            South Africa. The two Hickson-Wood children came over on a fat old white donkey.
            They made a pretty picture sitting astride, one behind the other – Maureen with her arms
            around small Michael’s waist. A native toto led the donkey and the children’ s ayah
            walked beside it.

            It is quite cold here now but the sun is bright and the air dry. The whole
            countryside is beautifully green and we are a very happy little family.

            Lots and lots of love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate August 11th 1932

            Dearest Family,

            George has been very unwell for the past week. He had a nasty gash on his
            knee which went septic. He had a swelling in the groin and a high temperature and could
            not sleep at night for the pain in his leg. Ann was very wakeful too during the same
            period, I think she is teething. I luckily have kept fit though rather harassed. Yesterday the
            leg looked so inflamed that George decided to open up the wound himself. he made
            quite a big cut in exactly the right place. You should have seen the blackish puss
            pouring out.

            After he had thoroughly cleaned the wound George sewed it up himself. he has
            the proper surgical needles and gut. He held the cut together with his left hand and
            pushed the needle through the flesh with his right. I pulled the needle out and passed it
            to George for the next stitch. I doubt whether a surgeon could have made a neater job
            of it. He is still confined to the couch but today his temperature is normal. Some
            husband!

            The previous week was hectic in another way. We had a visit from lions! George
            and I were having supper about 8.30 on Tuesday night when the back verandah was
            suddenly invaded by women and children from the servants quarters behind the kitchen.
            They were all yelling “Simba, Simba.” – simba means lions. The door opened suddenly
            and the houseboy rushed in to say that there were lions at the huts. George got up
            swiftly, fetched gun and ammunition from the bedroom and with the houseboy carrying
            the lamp, went off to investigate. I remained at the table, carrying on with my supper as I
            felt a pioneer’s wife should! Suddenly something big leapt through the open window
            behind me. You can imagine what I thought! I know now that it is quite true to say one’s
            hair rises when one is scared. However it was only Kelly, our huge Irish wolfhound,
            taking cover.

            George returned quite soon to say that apparently the commotion made by the
            women and children had frightened the lions off. He found their tracks in the soft earth
            round the huts and a bag of maize that had been playfully torn open but the lions had
            moved on.

            Next day we heard that they had moved to Hickson-Wood’s shamba. Hicky
            came across to say that the lions had jumped over the wall of his cattle boma and killed
            both his white Muskat riding donkeys.
            He and a friend sat up all next night over the remains but the lions did not return to
            the kill.

            Apart from the little set back last week, Ann is blooming. She has a cap of very
            fine fair hair and clear blue eyes under straight brow. She also has lovely dimples in both
            cheeks. We are very proud of her.

            Our neighbours are picking coffee but the crops are small and the price is low. I
            am amazed that they are so optimistic about the future. No one in these parts ever
            seems to grouse though all are living on capital. They all say “Well if the worst happens
            we can always go up to the Lupa Diggings.”

            Don’t worry about us, we have enough to tide us over for some time yet.

            Much love to all,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 28th Sept. 1932

            Dearest Family,

            News! News! I’m going to have another baby. George and I are delighted and I
            hope it will be a boy this time. I shall be able to have him at Mbeya because things are
            rapidly changing here. Several German families have moved to Mbeya including a
            German doctor who means to build a hospital there. I expect he will make a very good
            living because there must now be some hundreds of Europeans within a hundred miles
            radius of Mbeya. The Europeans are mostly British or German but there are also
            Greeks and, I believe, several other nationalities are represented on the Lupa Diggings.
            Ann is blooming and developing according to the Book except that she has no
            teeth yet! Kath Hickson-Wood has given her a very nice high chair and now she has
            breakfast and lunch at the table with us. Everything within reach goes on the floor to her
            amusement and my exasperation!

            You ask whether we have any Church of England missionaries in our part. No we
            haven’t though there are Lutheran and Roman Catholic Missions. I have never even
            heard of a visiting Church of England Clergyman to these parts though there are babies
            in plenty who have not been baptised. Jolly good thing I had Ann Christened down
            there.

            The R.C. priests in this area are called White Fathers. They all have beards and
            wear white cassocks and sun helmets. One, called Father Keiling, calls around frequently.
            Though none of us in this area is Catholic we take it in turn to put him up for the night. The
            Catholic Fathers in their turn are most hospitable to travellers regardless of their beliefs.
            Rather a sad thing has happened. Lucas our old chicken-boy is dead. I shall miss
            his toothy smile. George went to the funeral and fired two farewell shots from his rifle
            over the grave – a gesture much appreciated by the locals. Lucas in his day was a good
            hunter.

            Several of the locals own muzzle loading guns but the majority hunt with dogs
            and spears. The dogs wear bells which make an attractive jingle but I cannot bear the
            idea of small antelope being run down until they are exhausted before being clubbed of
            stabbed to death. We seldom eat venison as George does not care to shoot buck.
            Recently though, he shot an eland and Abel rendered down the fat which is excellent for
            cooking and very like beef fat.

            Much love to all,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. P.O.Mbeya 21st November 1932

            Dearest Family,

            George has gone off to the Lupa for a week with John Molteno. John came up
            here with the idea of buying a coffee farm but he has changed his mind and now thinks of
            staking some claims on the diggings and also setting up as a gold buyer.

            Did I tell you about his arrival here? John and George did some elephant hunting
            together in French Equatorial Africa and when John heard that George had married and
            settled in Tanganyika, he also decided to come up here. He drove up from Cape Town
            in a Baby Austin and arrived just as our labourers were going home for the day. The little
            car stopped half way up our hill and John got out to investigate. You should have heard
            the astonished exclamations when John got out – all 6 ft 5 ins. of him! He towered over
            the little car and even to me it seemed impossible for him to have made the long
            journey in so tiny a car.

            Kath Wood has been over several times lately. She is slim and looks so right in
            the shirt and corduroy slacks she almost always wears. She was here yesterday when
            the shamba boy, digging in the front garden, unearthed a large earthenware cooking pot,
            sealed at the top. I was greatly excited and had an instant mental image of fabulous
            wealth. We made the boy bring the pot carefully on to the verandah and opened it in
            happy anticipation. What do you think was inside? Nothing but a grinning skull! Such a
            treat for a pregnant female.

            We have a tree growing here that had lovely straight branches covered by a
            smooth bark. I got the garden boy to cut several of these branches of a uniform size,
            peeled off the bark and have made Ann a playpen with the poles which are much like
            broom sticks. Now I can leave her unattended when I do my chores. The other morning
            after breakfast I put Ann in her playpen on the verandah and gave her a piece of toast
            and honey to keep her quiet whilst I laundered a few of her things. When I looked out a
            little later I was horrified to see a number of bees buzzing around her head whilst she
            placidly concentrated on her toast. I made a rapid foray and rescued her but I still don’t
            know whether that was the thing to do.

            We all send our love,
            Eleanor.

            Mbeya Hospital. April 25th. 1933

            Dearest Family,

            Here I am, installed at the very new hospital, built by Dr Eckhardt, awaiting the
            arrival of the new baby. George has gone back to the farm on foot but will walk in again
            to spend the weekend with us. Ann is with me and enjoys the novelty of playing with
            other children. The Eckhardts have two, a pretty little girl of two and a half and a very fair
            roly poly boy of Ann’s age. Ann at fourteen months is very active. She is quite a little girl
            now with lovely dimples. She walks well but is backward in teething.

            George, Ann and I had a couple of days together at the hotel before I moved in
            here and several of the local women visited me and have promised to visit me in
            hospital. The trip from farm to town was very entertaining if not very comfortable. There
            is ten miles of very rough road between our farm and Utengule Mission and beyond the
            Mission there is a fair thirteen or fourteen mile road to Mbeya.

            As we have no car now the doctor’s wife offered to drive us from the Mission to
            Mbeya but she would not risk her car on the road between the Mission and our farm.
            The upshot was that I rode in the Hickson-Woods machila for that ten mile stretch. The
            machila is a canopied hammock, slung from a bamboo pole, in which I reclined, not too
            comfortably in my unwieldy state, with Ann beside me or sometime straddling me. Four
            of our farm boys carried the machila on their shoulders, two fore and two aft. The relief
            bearers walked on either side. There must have been a dozen in all and they sang a sort
            of sea shanty song as they walked. One man would sing a verse and the others took up
            the chorus. They often improvise as they go. They moaned about my weight (at least
            George said so! I don’t follow Ki-Swahili well yet) and expressed the hope that I would
            have a son and that George would reward them handsomely.

            George and Kelly, the dog, followed close behind the machila and behind
            George came Abel our cook and his wife and small daughter Annalie, all in their best
            attire. The cook wore a palm beach suit, large Terai hat and sunglasses and two colour
            shoes and quite lent a tone to the proceedings! Right at the back came the rag tag and
            bobtail who joined the procession just for fun.

            Mrs Eckhardt was already awaiting us at the Mission when we arrived and we had
            an uneventful trip to the Mbeya Hotel.

            During my last week at the farm I felt very tired and engaged the cook’s small
            daughter, Annalie, to amuse Ann for an hour after lunch so that I could have a rest. They
            played in the small verandah room which adjoins our bedroom and where I keep all my
            sewing materials. One afternoon I was startled by a scream from Ann. I rushed to the
            room and found Ann with blood steaming from her cheek. Annalie knelt beside her,
            looking startled and frightened, with my embroidery scissors in her hand. She had cut off
            half of the long curling golden lashes on one of Ann’s eyelids and, in trying to finish the
            job, had cut off a triangular flap of skin off Ann’s cheek bone.

            I called Abel, the cook, and demanded that he should chastise his daughter there and
            then and I soon heard loud shrieks from behind the kitchen. He spanked her with a
            bamboo switch but I am sure not as well as she deserved. Africans are very tolerant
            towards their children though I have seen husbands and wives fighting furiously.
            I feel very well but long to have the confinement over.

            Very much love,
            Eleanor.

            Mbeya Hospital. 2nd May 1933.

            Dearest Family,

            Little George arrived at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening 29 th. April. George was
            with me at the time as he had walked in from the farm for news, and what a wonderful bit
            of luck that was. The doctor was away on a case on the Diggings and I was bathing Ann
            with George looking on, when the pains started. George dried Ann and gave her
            supper and put her to bed. Afterwards he sat on the steps outside my room and a
            great comfort it was to know that he was there.

            The confinement was short but pretty hectic. The Doctor returned to the Hospital
            just in time to deliver the baby. He is a grand little boy, beautifully proportioned. The
            doctor says he has never seen a better formed baby. He is however rather funny
            looking just now as his head is, very temporarily, egg shaped. He has a shock of black
            silky hair like a gollywog and believe it or not, he has a slight black moustache.
            George came in, looked at the baby, looked at me, and we both burst out
            laughing. The doctor was shocked and said so. He has no sense of humour and couldn’t
            understand that we, though bursting with pride in our son, could never the less laugh at
            him.

            Friends in Mbeya have sent me the most gorgeous flowers and my room is
            transformed with delphiniums, roses and carnations. The room would be very austere
            without the flowers. Curtains, bedspread and enamelware, walls and ceiling are all
            snowy white.

            George hired a car and took Ann home next day. I have little George for
            company during the day but he is removed at night. I am longing to get him home and
            away from the German nurse who feeds him on black tea when he cries. She insists that
            tea is a medicine and good for him.

            Much love from a proud mother of two.
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate 12May 1933

            Dearest Family,

            We are all together at home again and how lovely it feels. Even the house
            servants seem pleased. The boy had decorated the lounge with sprays of
            bougainvillaea and Abel had backed one of his good sponge cakes.

            Ann looked fat and rosy but at first was only moderately interested in me and the
            new baby but she soon thawed. George is good with her and will continue to dress Ann
            in the mornings and put her to bed until I am satisfied with Georgie.

            He, poor mite, has a nasty rash on face and neck. I am sure it is just due to that
            tea the nurse used to give him at night. He has lost his moustache and is fast loosing his
            wild black hair and emerging as quite a handsome babe. He is a very masculine looking
            infant with much more strongly marked eyebrows and a larger nose that Ann had. He is
            very good and lies quietly in his basket even when awake.

            George has been making a hatching box for brown trout ova and has set it up in
            a small clear stream fed by a spring in readiness for the ova which is expected from
            South Africa by next weeks plane. Some keen fishermen from Mbeya and the District
            have clubbed together to buy the ova. The fingerlings are later to be transferred to
            streams in Mbeya and Tukuyu Districts.

            I shall now have my hands full with the two babies and will not have much time for the
            garden, or I fear, for writing very long letters. Remember though, that no matter how
            large my family becomes, I shall always love you as much as ever.

            Your affectionate,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 14th June 1933

            Dearest Family,

            The four of us are all well but alas we have lost our dear Kelly. He was rather a
            silly dog really, although he grew so big he retained all his puppy ways but we were all
            very fond of him, especially George because Kelly attached himself to George whilst I
            was away having Ann and from that time on he was George’s shadow. I think he had
            some form of biliary fever. He died stretched out on the living room couch late last night,
            with George sitting beside him so that he would not feel alone.

            The children are growing fast. Georgie is a darling. He now has a fluff of pale
            brown hair and his eyes are large and dark brown. Ann is very plump and fair.
            We have had several visitors lately. Apart from neighbours, a car load of diggers
            arrived one night and John Molteno and his bride were here. She is a very attractive girl
            but, I should say, more suited to life in civilisation than in this back of beyond. She has
            gone out to the diggings with her husband and will have to walk a good stretch of the fifty
            or so miles.

            The diggers had to sleep in the living room on the couch and on hastily erected
            camp beds. They arrived late at night and left after breakfast next day. One had half a
            beard, the other side of his face had been forcibly shaved in the bar the night before.

            your affectionate,
            Eleanor

            Mchewe Estate. August 10 th. 1933

            Dearest Family,

            George is away on safari with two Indian Army officers. The money he will get for
            his services will be very welcome because this coffee growing is a slow business, and
            our capitol is rapidly melting away. The job of acting as White Hunter was unexpected
            or George would not have taken on the job of hatching the ova which duly arrived from
            South Africa.

            George and the District Commissioner, David Pollock, went to meet the plane
            by which the ova had been consigned but the pilot knew nothing about the package. It
            came to light in the mail bag with the parcels! However the ova came to no harm. David
            Pollock and George brought the parcel to the farm and carefully transferred the ova to
            the hatching box. It was interesting to watch the tiny fry hatch out – a process which took
            several days. Many died in the process and George removed the dead by sucking
            them up in a glass tube.

            When hatched, the tiny fry were fed on ant eggs collected by the boys. I had to
            take over the job of feeding and removing the dead when George left on safari. The fry
            have to be fed every four hours, like the baby, so each time I have fed Georgie. I hurry
            down to feed the trout.

            The children are very good but keep me busy. Ann can now say several words
            and understands more. She adores Georgie. I long to show them off to you.

            Very much love
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. October 27th 1933

            Dear Family,

            All just over flu. George and Ann were very poorly. I did not fare so badly and
            Georgie came off best. He is on a bottle now.

            There was some excitement here last Wednesday morning. At 6.30 am. I called
            for boiling water to make Georgie’s food. No water arrived but muffled shouting and the
            sound of blows came from the kitchen. I went to investigate and found a fierce fight in
            progress between the house boy and the kitchen boy. In my efforts to make them stop
            fighting I went too close and got a sharp bang on the mouth with the edge of an
            enamelled plate the kitchen boy was using as a weapon. My teeth cut my lip inside and
            the plate cut it outside and blood flowed from mouth to chin. The boys were petrified.
            By the time I had fed Georgie the lip was stiff and swollen. George went in wrath
            to the kitchen and by breakfast time both house boy and kitchen boy had swollen faces
            too. Since then I have a kettle of boiling water to hand almost before the words are out
            of my mouth. I must say that the fight was because the house boy had clouted the
            kitchen boy for keeping me waiting! In this land of piece work it is the job of the kitchen
            boy to light the fire and boil the kettle but the houseboy’s job to carry the kettle to me.
            I have seen little of Kath Wood or Marion Coster for the past two months. Major
            Jones is the neighbour who calls most regularly. He has a wireless set and calls on all of
            us to keep us up to date with world as well as local news. He often brings oranges for
            Ann who adores him. He is a very nice person but no oil painting and makes no effort to
            entertain Ann but she thinks he is fine. Perhaps his monocle appeals to her.

            George has bought a six foot long galvanised bath which is a great improvement
            on the smaller oval one we have used until now. The smaller one had grown battered
            from much use and leaks like a sieve. Fortunately our bathroom has a cement floor,
            because one had to fill the bath to the brim and then bath extremely quickly to avoid
            being left high and dry.

            Lots and lots of love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 1st December 1933

            Dearest Family,

            Ann has not been well. We think she has had malaria. She has grown a good
            deal lately and looks much thinner and rather pale. Georgie is thriving and has such
            sparkling brown eyes and a ready smile. He and Ann make a charming pair, one so fair
            and the other dark.

            The Moltenos’ spent a few days here and took Georgie and me to Mbeya so
            that Georgie could be vaccinated. However it was an unsatisfactory trip because the
            doctor had no vaccine.

            George went to the Lupa with the Moltenos and returned to the farm in their Baby
            Austin which they have lent to us for a week. This was to enable me to go to Mbeya to
            have a couple of teeth filled by a visiting dentist.

            We went to Mbeya in the car on Saturday. It was quite a squash with the four of
            us on the front seat of the tiny car. Once George grabbed the babies foot instead of the
            gear knob! We had Georgie vaccinated at the hospital and then went to the hotel where
            the dentist was installed. Mr Dare, the dentist, had few instruments and they were very
            tarnished. I sat uncomfortably on a kitchen chair whilst he tinkered with my teeth. He filled
            three but two of the fillings came out that night. This meant another trip to Mbeya in the
            Baby Austin but this time they seem all right.

            The weather is very hot and dry and the garden a mess. We are having trouble
            with the young coffee trees too. Cut worms are killing off seedlings in the nursery and
            there is a borer beetle in the planted out coffee.

            George bought a large grey donkey from some wandering Masai and we hope
            the children will enjoy riding it later on.

            Very much love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 14th February 1934.

            Dearest Family,

            You will be sorry to hear that little Ann has been very ill, indeed we were terribly
            afraid that we were going to lose her. She enjoyed her birthday on the 8th. All the toys
            you, and her English granny, sent were unwrapped with such delight. However next
            day she seemed listless and a bit feverish so I tucked her up in bed after lunch. I dosed
            her with quinine and aspirin and she slept fitfully. At about eleven o’clock I was
            awakened by a strange little cry. I turned up the night light and was horrified to see that
            Ann was in a convulsion. I awakened George who, as always in an emergency, was
            perfectly calm and practical. He filled the small bath with very warm water and emersed
            Ann in it, placing a cold wet cloth on her head. We then wrapped her in blankets and
            gave her an enema and she settled down to sleep. A few hours later we had the same
            thing over again.

            At first light we sent a runner to Mbeya to fetch the doctor but waited all day in
            vain and in the evening the runner returned to say that the doctor had gone to a case on
            the diggings. Ann had been feverish all day with two or three convulsions. Neither
            George or I wished to leave the bedroom, but there was Georgie to consider, and in
            the afternoon I took him out in the garden for a while whilst George sat with Ann.
            That night we both sat up all night and again Ann had those wretched attacks of
            convulsions. George and I were worn out with anxiety by the time the doctor arrived the
            next afternoon. Ann had not been able to keep down any quinine and had had only
            small sips of water since the onset of the attack.

            The doctor at once diagnosed the trouble as malaria aggravated by teething.
            George held Ann whilst the Doctor gave her an injection. At the first attempt the needle
            bent into a bow, George was furious! The second attempt worked and after a few hours
            Ann’s temperature dropped and though she was ill for two days afterwards she is now
            up and about. She has also cut the last of her baby teeth, thank God. She looks thin and
            white, but should soon pick up. It has all been a great strain to both of us. Georgie
            behaved like an angel throughout. He played happily in his cot and did not seem to
            sense any tension as people say, babies do. Our baby was cheerful and not at all
            subdued.

            This is the rainy season and it is a good thing that some work has been done on
            our road or the doctor might not have got through.

            Much love to all,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 1st October 1934

            Dearest Family,

            We are all well now, thank goodness, but last week Georgie gave us such a
            fright. I was sitting on the verandah, busy with some sewing and not watching Ann and
            Georgie, who were trying to reach a bunch of bananas which hung on a rope from a
            beam of the verandah. Suddenly I heard a crash, Georgie had fallen backward over the
            edge of the verandah and hit the back of his head on the edge of the brick furrow which
            carries away the rainwater. He lay flat on his back with his arms spread out and did not
            move or cry. When I picked him up he gave a little whimper, I carried him to his cot and
            bathed his face and soon he began sitting up and appeared quite normal. The trouble
            began after he had vomited up his lunch. He began to whimper and bang his head
            against the cot.

            George and I were very worried because we have no transport so we could not
            take Georgie to the doctor and we could not bear to go through again what we had gone
            through with Ann earlier in the year. Then, in the late afternoon, a miracle happened. Two
            men George hardly knew, and complete strangers to me, called in on their way from the
            diggings to Mbeya and they kindly drove Georgie and me to the hospital. The Doctor
            allowed me to stay with Georgie and we spent five days there. Luckily he responded to
            treatment and is now as alive as ever. Children do put years on one!

            There is nothing much else to report. We have a new vegetable garden which is
            doing well but the earth here is strange. Gardens seem to do well for two years but by
            that time the soil is exhausted and one must move the garden somewhere else. The
            coffee looks well but it will be another year before we can expect even a few bags of
            coffee and prices are still low. Anyway by next year George should have some good
            return for all his hard work.

            Lots of love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. November 4th 1934

            Dearest Family,

            George is home from his White Hunting safari looking very sunburnt and well.
            The elderly American, who was his client this time, called in here at the farm to meet me
            and the children. It is amazing what spirit these old lads have! This one looked as though
            he should be thinking in terms of slippers and an armchair but no, he thinks in terms of
            high powered rifles with telescopic sights.

            It is lovely being together again and the children are delighted to have their Dad
            home. Things are always exciting when George is around. The day after his return
            George said at breakfast, “We can’t go on like this. You and the kids never get off the
            shamba. We’ll simply have to get a car.” You should have heard the excitement. “Get a
            car Daddy?’” cried Ann jumping in her chair so that her plaits bounced. “Get a car
            Daddy?” echoed Georgie his brown eyes sparkling. “A car,” said I startled, “However
            can we afford one?”

            “Well,” said George, “on my way back from Safari I heard that a car is to be sold
            this week at the Tukuyu Court, diseased estate or bankruptcy or something, I might get it
            cheap and it is an A.C.” The name meant nothing to me, but George explained that an
            A.C. is first cousin to a Rolls Royce.

            So off he went to the sale and next day the children and I listened all afternoon for
            the sound of an approaching car. We had many false alarms but, towards evening we
            heard what appeared to be the roar of an aeroplane engine. It was the A.C. roaring her
            way up our steep hill with a long plume of steam waving gaily above her radiator.
            Out jumped my beaming husband and in no time at all, he was showing off her
            points to an admiring family. Her lines are faultless and seats though worn are most
            comfortable. She has a most elegant air so what does it matter that the radiator leaks like
            a sieve, her exhaust pipe has broken off, her tyres are worn almost to the canvas and
            she has no windscreen. She goes, and she cost only five pounds.

            Next afternoon George, the kids and I piled into the car and drove along the road
            on lookout for guinea fowl. All went well on the outward journey but on the homeward
            one the poor A.C. simply gasped and died. So I carried the shot gun and George
            carried both children and we trailed sadly home. This morning George went with a bunch
            of farmhands and brought her home. Truly temperamental, she came home literally
            under her own steam.

            George now plans to get a second hand engine and radiator for her but it won’t
            be an A.C. engine. I think she is the only one of her kind in the country.
            I am delighted to hear, dad, that you are sending a bridle for Joseph for
            Christmas. I am busy making a saddle out of an old piece of tent canvas stuffed with
            kapok, some webbing and some old rug straps. A car and a riding donkey! We’re
            definitely carriage folk now.

            Lots of love to all,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 28th December 1934

            Dearest Family,

            Thank you for the wonderful Christmas parcel. My frock is a splendid fit. George
            declares that no one can knit socks like Mummy and the children love their toys and new
            clothes.

            Joseph, the donkey, took his bit with an air of bored resignation and Ann now
            rides proudly on his back. Joseph is a big strong animal with the looks and disposition of
            a mule. he will not go at all unless a native ‘toto’ walks before him and when he does go
            he wears a pained expression as though he were carrying fourteen stone instead of
            Ann’s fly weight. I walk beside the donkey carrying Georgie and our cat, ‘Skinny Winnie’,
            follows behind. Quite a cavalcade. The other day I got so exasperated with Joseph that
            I took Ann off and I got on. Joseph tottered a few paces and sat down! to the huge
            delight of our farm labourers who were going home from work. Anyway, one good thing,
            the donkey is so lazy that there is little chance of him bolting with Ann.

            The Moltenos spent Christmas with us and left for the Lupa Diggings yesterday.
            They arrived on the 22nd. with gifts for the children and chocolates and beer. That very
            afternoon George and John Molteno left for Ivuna, near Lake Ruckwa, to shoot some
            guinea fowl and perhaps a goose for our Christmas dinner. We expected the menfolk
            back on Christmas Eve and Anne and I spent a busy day making mince pies and
            sausage rolls. Why I don’t know, because I am sure Abel could have made them better.
            We decorated the Christmas tree and sat up very late but no husbands turned up.
            Christmas day passed but still no husbands came. Anne, like me, is expecting a baby
            and we both felt pretty forlorn and cross. Anne was certain that they had been caught up
            in a party somewhere and had forgotten all about us and I must say when Boxing Day
            went by and still George and John did not show up I felt ready to agree with her.
            They turned up towards evening and explained that on the homeward trip the car
            had bogged down in the mud and that they had spent a miserable Christmas. Anne
            refused to believe their story so George, to prove their case, got the game bag and
            tipped the contents on to the dining room table. Out fell several guinea fowl, long past
            being edible, followed by a large goose so high that it was green and blue where all the
            feathers had rotted off.

            The stench was too much for two pregnant girls. I shot out of the front door
            closely followed by Anne and we were both sick in the garden.

            I could not face food that evening but Anne is made of stronger stuff and ate her
            belated Christmas dinner with relish.

            I am looking forward enormously to having Marjorie here with us. She will be able
            to carry back to you an eyewitness account of our home and way of life.

            Much love to you all,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 5th January 1935

            Dearest Family,

            You cannot imagine how lovely it is to have Marjorie here. She came just in time
            because I have had pernicious vomiting and have lost a great deal of weight and she
            took charge of the children and made me spend three days in hospital having treatment.
            George took me to the hospital on the afternoon of New Years Eve and decided
            to spend the night at the hotel and join in the New Years Eve celebrations. I had several
            visitors at the hospital that evening and George actually managed to get some imported
            grapes for me. He returned to the farm next morning and fetched me from the hospital
            four days later. Of course the old A.C. just had to play up. About half way home the
            back axle gave in and we had to send a passing native some miles back to a place
            called Mbalizi to hire a lorry from a Greek trader to tow us home to the farm.
            The children looked well and were full of beans. I think Marjorie was thankful to
            hand them over to me. She is delighted with Ann’s motherly little ways but Georgie she
            calls “a really wild child”. He isn’t, just has such an astonishing amount of energy and is
            always up to mischief. Marjorie brought us all lovely presents. I am so thrilled with my
            sewing machine. It may be an old model but it sews marvellously. We now have an
            Alsatian pup as well as Joseph the donkey and the two cats.

            Marjorie had a midnight encounter with Joseph which gave her quite a shock but
            we had a good laugh about it next day. Some months ago George replaced our wattle
            and daub outside pit lavatory by a substantial brick one, so large that Joseph is being
            temporarily stabled in it at night. We neglected to warn Marj about this and one night,
            storm lamp in hand, she opened the door and Joseph walked out braying his thanks.
            I am afraid Marjorie is having a quiet time, a shame when the journey from Cape
            Town is so expensive. The doctor has told me to rest as much as I can, so it is
            impossible for us to take Marj on sight seeing trips.

            I hate to think that she will be leaving in ten days time.

            Much love,
            Eleanor.

            Mchewe Estate. 18th February 1935

            Dearest Family,

            You must be able to visualise our life here quite well now that Marj is back and
            has no doubt filled in all the details I forget to mention in my letters. What a journey we
            had in the A.C. when we took her to the plane. George, the children and I sat in front and
            Marj sat behind with numerous four gallon tins of water for the insatiable radiator. It was
            raining and the canvas hood was up but part of the side flaps are missing and as there is
            no glass in the windscreen the rain blew in on us. George got fed up with constantly
            removing the hot radiator cap so simply stuffed a bit of rag in instead. When enough
            steam had built up in the radiator behind the rag it blew out and we started all over again.
            The car still roars like an aeroplane engine and yet has little power so that George sent
            gangs of boys to the steep hills between the farm and the Mission to give us a push if
            necessary. Fortunately this time it was not, and the boys cheered us on our way. We
            needed their help on the homeward journey however.

            George has now bought an old Chev engine which he means to install before I
            have to go to hospital to have my new baby. It will be quite an engineering feet as
            George has few tools.

            I am sorry to say that I am still not well, something to do with kidneys or bladder.
            George bought me some pills from one of the several small shops which have opened
            in Mbeya and Ann is most interested in the result. She said seriously to Kath Wood,
            “Oh my Mummy is a very clever Mummy. She can do blue wee and green wee as well
            as yellow wee.” I simply can no longer manage the children without help and have
            engaged the cook’s wife, Janey, to help. The children are by no means thrilled. I plead in
            vain that I am not well enough to go for walks. Ann says firmly, “Ann doesn’t want to go
            for a walk. Ann will look after you.” Funny, though she speaks well for a three year old,
            she never uses the first person. Georgie say he would much rather walk with
            Keshokutwa, the kitchen boy. His name by the way, means day-after-tomorrow and it
            suits him down to the ground, Kath Wood walks over sometimes with offers of help and Ann will gladly go walking with her but Georgie won’t. He on the other hand will walk with Anne Molteno
            and Ann won’t. They are obstinate kids. Ann has developed a very fertile imagination.
            She has probably been looking at too many of those nice women’s magazines you
            sent. A few days ago she said, “You are sick Mummy, but Ann’s got another Mummy.
            She’s not sick, and my other mummy (very smugly) has lovely golden hair”. This
            morning’ not ten minutes after I had dressed her, she came in with her frock wet and
            muddy. I said in exasperation, “Oh Ann, you are naughty.” To which she instantly
            returned, “My other Mummy doesn’t think I am naughty. She thinks I am very nice.” It
            strikes me I shall have to get better soon so that I can be gay once more and compete
            with that phantom golden haired paragon.

            We had a very heavy storm over the farm last week. There was heavy rain with
            hail which stripped some of the coffee trees and the Mchewe River flooded and the
            water swept through the lower part of the shamba. After the water had receded George
            picked up a fine young trout which had been stranded. This was one of some he had
            put into the river when Georgie was a few months old.

            The trials of a coffee farmer are legion. We now have a plague of snails. They
            ring bark the young trees and leave trails of slime on the glossy leaves. All the ring
            barked trees will have to be cut right back and this is heartbreaking as they are bearing
            berries for the first time. The snails are collected by native children, piled upon the
            ground and bashed to a pulp which gives off a sickening stench. I am sorry for the local
            Africans. Locusts ate up their maize and now they are losing their bean crop to the snails.

            Lots of love, Eleanor

            #6260
            TracyTracy
            Participant

              From Tanganyika with Love

              With thanks to Mike Rushby.

              • “The letters of Eleanor Dunbar Leslie to her parents and her sister in South Africa
                concerning her life with George Gilman Rushby of Tanganyika, and the trials and
                joys of bringing up a family in pioneering conditions.

              These letters were transcribed from copies of letters typed by Eleanor Rushby from
              the originals which were in the estate of Marjorie Leslie, Eleanor’s sister. Eleanor
              kept no diary of her life in Tanganyika, so these letters were the living record of an
              important part of her life.

              Prelude
              Having walked across Africa from the East coast to Ubangi Shauri Chad
              in French Equatorial Africa, hunting elephant all the way, George Rushby
              made his way down the Congo to Leopoldville. He then caught a ship to
              Europe and had a holiday in Brussels and Paris before visiting his family
              in England. He developed blackwater fever and was extremely ill for a
              while. When he recovered he went to London to arrange his return to
              Africa.

              Whilst staying at the Overseas Club he met Eileen Graham who had come
              to England from Cape Town to study music. On hearing that George was
              sailing for Cape Town she arranged to introduce him to her friend
              Eleanor Dunbar Leslie. “You’ll need someone lively to show you around,”
              she said. “She’s as smart as paint, a keen mountaineer, a very good school
              teacher, and she’s attractive. You can’t miss her, because her father is a
              well known Cape Town Magistrate. And,” she added “I’ve already written
              and told her what ship you are arriving on.”

              Eleanor duly met the ship. She and George immediately fell in love.
              Within thirty six hours he had proposed marriage and was accepted
              despite the misgivings of her parents. As she was under contract to her
              High School, she remained in South Africa for several months whilst
              George headed for Tanganyika looking for a farm where he could build
              their home.

              These details are a summary of chapter thirteen of the Biography of
              George Gilman Rushby ‘The Hunter is Death “ by T.V.Bulpin.

               

              Dearest Marj,
              Terrifically exciting news! I’ve just become engaged to an Englishman whom I
              met last Monday. The result is a family upheaval which you will have no difficulty in
              imagining!!

              The Aunts think it all highly romantic and cry in delight “Now isn’t that just like our
              El!” Mummy says she doesn’t know what to think, that anyway I was always a harum
              scarum and she rather expected something like this to happen. However I know that
              she thinks George highly attractive. “Such a nice smile and gentle manner, and such
              good hands“ she murmurs appreciatively. “But WHY AN ELEPHANT HUNTER?” she
              ends in a wail, as though elephant hunting was an unmentionable profession.
              Anyway I don’t think so. Anyone can marry a bank clerk or a lawyer or even a
              millionaire – but whoever heard of anyone marrying anyone as exciting as an elephant
              hunter? I’m thrilled to bits.

              Daddy also takes a dim view of George’s profession, and of George himself as
              a husband for me. He says that I am so impulsive and have such wild enthusiasms that I
              need someone conservative and steady to give me some serenity and some ballast.
              Dad says George is a handsome fellow and a good enough chap he is sure, but
              he is obviously a man of the world and hints darkly at a possible PAST. George says
              he has nothing of the kind and anyway I’m the first girl he has asked to marry him. I don’t
              care anyway, I’d gladly marry him tomorrow, but Dad has other ideas.

              He sat in his armchair to deliver his verdict, wearing the same look he must wear
              on the bench. If we marry, and he doesn’t think it would be a good thing, George must
              buy a comfortable house for me in Central Africa where I can stay safely when he goes
              hunting. I interrupted to say “But I’m going too”, but dad snubbed me saying that in no
              time at all I’ll have a family and one can’t go dragging babies around in the African Bush.”
              George takes his lectures with surprising calm. He says he can see Dad’s point of
              view much better than I can. He told the parents today that he plans to buy a small
              coffee farm in the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika and will build a cosy cottage which
              will be a proper home for both of us, and that he will only hunt occasionally to keep the
              pot boiling.

              Mummy, of course, just had to spill the beans. She said to George, “I suppose
              you know that Eleanor knows very little about house keeping and can’t cook at all.” a fact
              that I was keeping a dark secret. But George just said, “Oh she won’t have to work. The
              boys do all that sort of thing. She can lie on a couch all day and read if she likes.” Well
              you always did say that I was a “Lily of the field,” and what a good thing! If I were one of
              those terribly capable women I’d probably die of frustration because it seems that
              African house boys feel that they have lost face if their Memsahibs do anything but the
              most gracious chores.

              George is absolutely marvellous. He is strong and gentle and awfully good
              looking too. He is about 5 ft 10 ins tall and very broad. He wears his curly brown hair cut
              very short and has a close clipped moustache. He has strongly marked eyebrows and
              very striking blue eyes which sometimes turn grey or green. His teeth are strong and
              even and he has a quiet voice.

              I expect all this sounds too good to be true, but come home quickly and see for
              yourself. George is off to East Africa in three weeks time to buy our farm. I shall follow as
              soon as he has bought it and we will be married in Dar es Salaam.

              Dad has taken George for a walk “to get to know him” and that’s why I have time
              to write such a long screed. They should be back any minute now and I must fly and
              apply a bit of glamour.

              Much love my dear,
              your jubilant
              Eleanor

              S.S.Timavo. Durban. 28th.October. 1930.

              Dearest Family,
              Thank you for the lovely send off. I do wish you were all on board with me and
              could come and dance with me at my wedding. We are having a very comfortable
              voyage. There were only four of the passengers as far as Durban, all of them women,
              but I believe we are taking on more here. I have a most comfortable deck cabin to
              myself and the use of a sumptuous bathroom. No one is interested in deck games and I
              am having a lazy time, just sunbathing and reading.

              I sit at the Captain’s table and the meals are delicious – beautifully served. The
              butter for instance, is moulded into sprays of roses, most exquisitely done, and as for
              the ice-cream, I’ve never tasted anything like them.

              The meals are continental type and we have hors d’oeuvre in a great variety
              served on large round trays. The Italians souse theirs with oil, Ugh! We also of course
              get lots of spaghetti which I have some difficulty in eating. However this presents no
              problem to the Chief Engineer who sits opposite to me. He simply rolls it around his
              fork and somehow the spaghetti flows effortlessly from fork to mouth exactly like an
              ascending escalator. Wine is served at lunch and dinner – very mild and pleasant stuff.
              Of the women passengers the one i liked best was a young German widow
              from South west Africa who left the ship at East London to marry a man she had never
              met. She told me he owned a drapers shop and she was very happy at the prospect
              of starting a new life, as her previous marriage had ended tragically with the death of her
              husband and only child in an accident.

              I was most interested to see the bridegroom and stood at the rail beside the gay
              young widow when we docked at East London. I picked him out, without any difficulty,
              from the small group on the quay. He was a tall thin man in a smart grey suit and with a
              grey hat perched primly on his head. You can always tell from hats can’t you? I wasn’t
              surprised to see, when this German raised his head, that he looked just like the Kaiser’s
              “Little Willie”. Long thin nose and cold grey eyes and no smile of welcome on his tight
              mouth for the cheery little body beside me. I quite expected him to jerk his thumb and
              stalk off, expecting her to trot at his heel.

              However she went off blithely enough. Next day before the ship sailed, she
              was back and I saw her talking to the Captain. She began to cry and soon after the
              Captain patted her on the shoulder and escorted her to the gangway. Later the Captain
              told me that the girl had come to ask him to allow her to work her passage back to
              Germany where she had some relations. She had married the man the day before but
              she disliked him because he had deceived her by pretending that he owned a shop
              whereas he was only a window dresser. Bad show for both.

              The Captain and the Chief Engineer are the only officers who mix socially with
              the passengers. The captain seems rather a melancholy type with, I should say, no
              sense of humour. He speaks fair English with an American accent. He tells me that he
              was on the San Francisco run during Prohibition years in America and saw many Film
              Stars chiefly “under the influence” as they used to flock on board to drink. The Chief
              Engineer is big and fat and cheerful. His English is anything but fluent but he makes up
              for it in mime.

              I visited the relations and friends at Port Elizabeth and East London, and here at
              Durban. I stayed with the Trotters and Swans and enjoyed myself very much at both
              places. I have collected numerous wedding presents, china and cutlery, coffee
              percolator and ornaments, and where I shall pack all these things I don’t know. Everyone has been terribly kind and I feel extremely well and happy.

              At the start of the voyage I had a bit of bad luck. You will remember that a
              perfectly foul South Easter was blowing. Some men were busy working on a deck
              engine and I stopped to watch and a tiny fragment of steel blew into my eye. There is
              no doctor on board so the stewardess put some oil into the eye and bandaged it up.
              The eye grew more and more painful and inflamed and when when we reached Port
              Elizabeth the Captain asked the Port Doctor to look at it. The Doctor said it was a job for
              an eye specialist and telephoned from the ship to make an appointment. Luckily for me,
              Vincent Tofts turned up at the ship just then and took me off to the specialist and waited
              whilst he extracted the fragment with a giant magnet. The specialist said that I was very
              lucky as the thing just missed the pupil of my eye so my sight will not be affected. I was
              temporarily blinded by the Belladona the eye-man put in my eye so he fitted me with a
              pair of black goggles and Vincent escorted me back to the ship. Don’t worry the eye is
              now as good as ever and George will not have to take a one-eyed bride for better or
              worse.

              I have one worry and that is that the ship is going to be very much overdue by
              the time we reach Dar es Salaam. She is taking on a big wool cargo and we were held
              up for three days in East london and have been here in Durban for five days.
              Today is the ninth Anniversary of the Fascist Movement and the ship was
              dressed with bunting and flags. I must now go and dress for the gala dinner.

              Bless you all,
              Eleanor.

              S.S.Timavo. 6th. November 1930

              Dearest Family,

              Nearly there now. We called in at Lourenco Marques, Beira, Mozambique and
              Port Amelia. I was the only one of the original passengers left after Durban but there we
              took on a Mrs Croxford and her mother and two men passengers. Mrs C must have
              something, certainly not looks. She has a flat figure, heavily mascared eyes and crooked
              mouth thickly coated with lipstick. But her rather sweet old mother-black-pearls-type tells
              me they are worn out travelling around the world trying to shake off an admirer who
              pursues Mrs C everywhere.

              The one male passenger is very quiet and pleasant. The old lady tells me that he
              has recently lost his wife. The other passenger is a horribly bumptious type.
              I had my hair beautifully shingled at Lourenco Marques, but what an experience it
              was. Before we docked I asked the Captain whether he knew of a hairdresser, but he
              said he did not and would have to ask the agent when he came aboard. The agent was
              a very suave Asian. He said “Sure he did” and offered to take me in his car. I rather
              doubtfully agreed — such a swarthy gentleman — and was driven, not to a hairdressing
              establishment, but to his office. Then he spoke to someone on the telephone and in no
              time at all a most dago-y type arrived carrying a little black bag. He was all patent
              leather, hair, and flashing smile, and greeted me like an old and valued friend.
              Before I had collected my scattered wits tthe Agent had flung open a door and
              ushered me through, and I found myself seated before an ornate mirror in what was only
              too obviously a bedroom. It was a bedroom with a difference though. The unmade bed
              had no legs but hung from the ceiling on brass chains.

              The agent beamingly shut the door behind him and I was left with my imagination
              and the afore mentioned oily hairdresser. He however was very business like. Before I
              could say knife he had shingled my hair with a cut throat razor and then, before I could
              protest, had smothered my neck in stinking pink powder applied with an enormous and
              filthy swansdown powder puff. He held up a mirror for me to admire his handiwork but I
              was aware only of the enormous bed reflected in it, and hurriedly murmuring “very nice,
              very nice” I made my escape to the outer office where, to my relief, I found the Chief
              Engineer who escorted me back to the ship.

              In the afternoon Mrs Coxford and the old lady and I hired a taxi and went to the
              Polana Hotel for tea. Very swish but I like our Cape Peninsula beaches better.
              At Lorenco Marques we took on more passengers. The Governor of
              Portuguese Nyasaland and his wife and baby son. He was a large middle aged man,
              very friendly and unassuming and spoke perfect English. His wife was German and
              exquisite, as fragile looking and with the delicate colouring of a Dresden figurine. She
              looked about 18 but she told me she was 28 and showed me photographs of two
              other sons – hefty youngsters, whom she had left behind in Portugal and was missing
              very much.

              It was frightfully hot at Beira and as I had no money left I did not go up to the
              town, but Mrs Croxford and I spent a pleasant hour on the beach under the Casurina
              trees.

              The Governor and his wife left the ship at Mozambique. He looked very
              imposing in his starched uniform and she more Dresden Sheperdish than ever in a
              flowered frock. There was a guard of honour and all the trimmings. They bade me a warm farewell and invited George and me to stay at any time.

              The German ship “Watussi” was anchored in the Bay and I decided to visit her
              and try and have my hair washed and set. I had no sooner stepped on board when a
              lady came up to me and said “Surely you are Beeba Leslie.” It was Mrs Egan and she
              had Molly with her. Considering Mrs Egan had not seen me since I was five I think it was
              jolly clever of her to recognise me. Molly is charming and was most friendly. She fixed
              things with the hairdresser and sat with me until the job was done. Afterwards I had tea
              with them.

              Port Amelia was our last stop. In fact the only person to go ashore was Mr
              Taylor, the unpleasant man, and he returned at sunset very drunk indeed.
              We reached Port Amelia on the 3rd – my birthday. The boat had anchored by
              the time I was dressed and when I went on deck I saw several row boats cluttered
              around the gangway and in them were natives with cages of wild birds for sale. Such tiny
              crowded cages. I was furious, you know me. I bought three cages, carried them out on
              to the open deck and released the birds. I expected them to fly to the land but they flew
              straight up into the rigging.

              The quiet male passenger wandered up and asked me what I was doing. I said
              “I’m giving myself a birthday treat, I hate to see caged birds.” So next thing there he
              was buying birds which he presented to me with “Happy Birthday.” I gladly set those
              birds free too and they joined the others in the rigging.

              Then a grinning steward came up with three more cages. “For the lady with
              compliments of the Captain.” They lost no time in joining their friends.
              It had given me so much pleasure to free the birds that I was only a little
              discouraged when the quiet man said thoughtfully “This should encourage those bird
              catchers you know, they are sold out. When evening came and we were due to sail I
              was sure those birds would fly home, but no, they are still there and they will probably
              remain until we dock at Dar es Salaam.

              During the morning the Captain came up and asked me what my Christian name
              is. He looked as grave as ever and I couldn’t think why it should interest him but said “the
              name is Eleanor.” That night at dinner there was a large iced cake in the centre of the
              table with “HELENA” in a delicate wreath of pink icing roses on the top. We had
              champagne and everyone congratulated me and wished me good luck in my marriage.
              A very nice gesture don’t you think. The unpleasant character had not put in an
              appearance at dinner which made the party all the nicer

              I sat up rather late in the lounge reading a book and by the time I went to bed
              there was not a soul around. I bathed and changed into my nighty,walked into my cabin,
              shed my dressing gown, and pottered around. When I was ready for bed I put out my
              hand to draw the curtains back and a hand grasped my wrist. It was that wretched
              creature outside my window on the deck, still very drunk. Luckily I was wearing that
              heavy lilac silk nighty. I was livid. “Let go at once”, I said, but he only grinned stupidly.
              “I’m not hurting you” he said, “only looking”. “I’ll ring for the steward” said I, and by
              stretching I managed to press the bell with my free hand. I rang and rang but no one
              came and he just giggled. Then I said furiously, “Remember this name, George
              Rushby, he is a fine boxer and he hates specimens like you. When he meets me at Dar
              es Salaam I shall tell him about this and I bet you will be sorry.” However he still held on
              so I turned and knocked hard on the adjoining wall which divided my cabin from Mrs
              Croxfords. Soon Mrs Croxford and the old lady appeared in dressing gowns . This
              seemed to amuse the drunk even more though he let go my wrist. So whilst the old
              lady stayed with me, Mrs C fetched the quiet passenger who soon hustled him off. He has kept out of my way ever since. However I still mean to tell George because I feel
              the fellow got off far too lightly. I reported the matter to the Captain but he just remarked
              that he always knew the man was low class because he never wears a jacket to meals.
              This is my last night on board and we again had free champagne and I was given
              some tooled leather work by the Captain and a pair of good paste earrings by the old
              lady. I have invited them and Mrs Croxford, the Chief Engineer, and the quiet
              passenger to the wedding.

              This may be my last night as Eleanor Leslie and I have spent this long while
              writing to you just as a little token of my affection and gratitude for all the years of your
              love and care. I shall post this letter on the ship and must turn now and get some beauty
              sleep. We have been told that we shall be in Dar es Salaam by 9 am. I am so excited
              that I shall not sleep.

              Very much love, and just for fun I’ll sign my full name for the last time.
              with my “bes respeks”,

              Eleanor Leslie.

              Eleanor and George Rushby:

              Eleanor and George Rushby

              Splendid Hotel, Dar es Salaam 11th November 1930

              Dearest Family,

              I’m writing this in the bedroom whilst George is out buying a tin trunk in which to
              pack all our wedding presents. I expect he will be gone a long time because he has
              gone out with Hicky Wood and, though our wedding was four days ago, it’s still an
              excuse for a party. People are all very cheery and friendly here.
              I am wearing only pants and slip but am still hot. One swelters here in the
              mornings, but a fresh sea breeze blows in the late afternoons and then Dar es Salaam is
              heavenly.

              We arrived in Dar es Salaam harbour very early on Friday morning (7 th Nov).
              The previous night the Captain had said we might not reach Dar. until 9 am, and certainly
              no one would be allowed on board before 8 am. So I dawdled on the deck in my
              dressing gown and watched the green coastline and the islands slipping by. I stood on
              the deck outside my cabin and was not aware that I was looking out at the wrong side of
              the landlocked harbour. Quite unknown to me George and some friends, the Hickson
              Woods, were standing on the Gymkhana Beach on the opposite side of the channel
              anxiously scanning the ship for a sign of me. George says he had a horrible idea I had
              missed the ship. Blissfully unconscious of his anxiety I wandered into the bathroom
              prepared for a good soak. The anchor went down when I was in the bath and suddenly
              there was a sharp wrap on the door and I heard Mrs Croxford say “There’s a man in a
              boat outside. He is looking out for someone and I’m sure it’s your George. I flung on
              some clothes and rushed on deck with tousled hair and bare feet and it was George.
              We had a marvellous reunion. George was wearing shorts and bush shirt and
              looked just like the strong silent types one reads about in novels. I finished dressing then
              George helped me bundle all the wedding presents I had collected en route into my
              travelling rug and we went into the bar lounge to join the Hickson Woods. They are the
              couple from whom George bought the land which is to be our coffee farm Hicky-Wood
              was laughing when we joined them. he said he had called a chap to bring a couple of
              beers thinking he was the steward but it turned out to be the Captain. He does wear
              such a very plain uniform that I suppose it was easy to make the mistake, but Hicky
              says he was not amused.

              Anyway as the H-W’s are to be our neighbours I’d better describe them. Kath
              Wood is very attractive, dark Irish, with curly black hair and big brown eyes. She was
              married before to Viv Lumb a great friend of George’s who died some years ago of
              blackwater fever. They had one little girl, Maureen, and Kath and Hicky have a small son
              of three called Michael. Hicky is slightly below average height and very neat and dapper
              though well built. He is a great one for a party and good fun but George says he can be
              bad tempered.

              Anyway we all filed off the ship and Hicky and Cath went on to the hotel whilst
              George and I went through customs. Passing the customs was easy. Everyone
              seemed to know George and that it was his wedding day and I just sailed through,
              except for the little matter of the rug coming undone when George and I had to scramble
              on the floor for candlesticks and fruit knives and a wooden nut bowl.
              Outside the customs shed we were mobbed by a crowd of jabbering Africans
              offering their services as porters, and soon my luggage was piled in one rickshaw whilst
              George and I climbed into another and we were born smoothly away on rubber shod
              wheels to the Splendid Hotel. The motion was pleasing enough but it seemed weird to
              be pulled along by one human being whilst another pushed behind.  We turned up a street called Acacia Avenue which, as its name implies, is lined
              with flamboyant acacia trees now in the full glory of scarlet and gold. The rickshaw
              stopped before the Splendid Hotel and I was taken upstairs into a pleasant room which
              had its own private balcony overlooking the busy street.

              Here George broke the news that we were to be married in less than an hours
              time. He would have to dash off and change and then go straight to the church. I would
              be quite all right, Kath would be looking in and friends would fetch me.
              I started to dress and soon there was a tap at the door and Mrs Hickson-Wood
              came in with my bouquet. It was a lovely bunch of carnations and frangipani with lots of
              asparagus fern and it went well with my primrose yellow frock. She admired my frock
              and Leghorn hat and told me that her little girl Maureen was to be my flower girl. Then
              she too left for the church.

              I was fully dressed when there was another knock on the door and I opened it to
              be confronted by a Police Officer in a starched white uniform. I’m McCallum”, he said,
              “I’ve come to drive you to the church.” Downstairs he introduced me to a big man in a
              tussore silk suit. “This is Dr Shicore”, said McCallum, “He is going to give you away.”
              Honestly, I felt exactly like Alice in Wonderland. Wouldn’t have been at all surprised if
              the White Rabbit had popped up and said he was going to be my page.

              I walked out of the hotel and across the pavement in a dream and there, by the
              curb, was a big dark blue police car decorated with white ribbons and with a tall African
              Police Ascari holding the door open for me. I had hardly time to wonder what next when
              the car drew up before a tall German looking church. It was in fact the Lutheran Church in
              the days when Tanganyika was German East Africa.

              Mrs Hickson-Wood, very smart in mushroom coloured georgette and lace, and
              her small daughter were waiting in the porch, so in we went. I was glad to notice my
              friends from the boat sitting behind George’s friends who were all complete strangers to
              me. The aisle seemed very long but at last I reached George waiting in the chancel with
              Hicky-Wood, looking unfamiliar in a smart tussore suit. However this feeling of unreality
              passed when he turned his head and smiled at me.

              In the vestry after the ceremony I was kissed affectionately by several complete
              strangers and I felt happy and accepted by George’s friends. Outside the church,
              standing apart from the rest of the guests, the Italian Captain and Chief Engineer were
              waiting. They came up and kissed my hand, and murmured felicitations, but regretted
              they could not spare the time to come to the reception. Really it was just as well
              because they would not have fitted in at all well.

              Dr Shircore is the Director of Medical Services and he had very kindly lent his
              large house for the reception. It was quite a party. The guests were mainly men with a
              small sprinkling of wives. Champagne corks popped and there was an enormous cake
              and soon voices were raised in song. The chief one was ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’
              and I shall remember it for ever.

              The party was still in full swing when George and I left. The old lady from the ship
              enjoyed it hugely. She came in an all black outfit with a corsage of artificial Lily-of-the-
              Valley. Later I saw one of the men wearing the corsage in his buttonhole and the old
              lady was wearing a carnation.

              When George and I got back to the hotel,I found that my luggage had been
              moved to George’s room by his cook Lamek, who was squatting on his haunches and
              clapped his hands in greeting. My dears, you should see Lamek – exactly like a
              chimpanzee – receding forehead, wide flat nose, and long lip, and such splayed feet. It was quite a strain not to laugh, especially when he produced a gift for me. I have not yet
              discovered where he acquired it. It was a faded mauve straw toque of the kind worn by
              Queen Mary. I asked George to tell Lamek that I was touched by his generosity but felt
              that I could not accept his gift. He did not mind at all especially as George gave him a
              generous tip there and then.

              I changed into a cotton frock and shady straw hat and George changed into shorts
              and bush shirt once more. We then sneaked into the dining room for lunch avoiding our
              wedding guests who were carrying on the party in the lounge.

              After lunch we rejoined them and they all came down to the jetty to wave goodbye
              as we set out by motor launch for Honeymoon Island. I enjoyed the launch trip very
              much. The sea was calm and very blue and the palm fringed beaches of Dar es Salaam
              are as romantic as any bride could wish. There are small coral islands dotted around the
              Bay of which Honeymoon Island is the loveliest. I believe at one time it bore the less
              romantic name of Quarantine Island. Near the Island, in the shallows, the sea is brilliant
              green and I saw two pink jellyfish drifting by.

              There is no jetty on the island so the boat was stopped in shallow water and
              George carried me ashore. I was enchanted with the Island and in no hurry to go to the
              bungalow, so George and I took our bathing costumes from our suitcases and sent the
              luggage up to the house together with a box of provisions.

              We bathed and lazed on the beach and suddenly it was sunset and it began to
              get dark. We walked up the beach to the bungalow and began to unpack the stores,
              tea, sugar, condensed milk, bread and butter, sardines and a large tin of ham. There
              were also cups and saucers and plates and cutlery.

              We decided to have an early meal and George called out to the caretaker, “Boy
              letta chai”. Thereupon the ‘boy’ materialised and jabbered to George in Ki-Swaheli. It
              appeared he had no utensil in which to boil water. George, ever resourceful, removed
              the ham from the tin and gave him that. We had our tea all right but next day the ham
              was bad.

              Then came bed time. I took a hurricane lamp in one hand and my suitcase in the
              other and wandered into the bedroom whilst George vanished into the bathroom. To
              my astonishment I saw two perfectly bare iron bedsteads – no mattress or pillows. We
              had brought sheets and mosquito nets but, believe me, they are a poor substitute for a
              mattress.

              Anyway I arrayed myself in my pale yellow satin nightie and sat gingerly down
              on the iron edge of the bed to await my groom who eventually appeared in a
              handsome suit of silk pyjamas. His expression, as he took in the situation, was too much
              for me and I burst out laughing and so did he.

              Somewhere in the small hours I woke up. The breeze had dropped and the
              room was unbearably stuffy. I felt as dry as a bone. The lamp had been turned very
              low and had gone out, but I remembered seeing a water tank in the yard and I decided
              to go out in the dark and drink from the tap. In the dark I could not find my slippers so I
              slipped my feet into George’s shoes, picked up his matches and groped my way out
              of the room. I found the tank all right and with one hand on the tap and one cupped for
              water I stooped to drink. Just then I heard a scratchy noise and sensed movements
              around my feet. I struck a match and oh horrors! found that the damp spot on which I was
              standing was alive with white crabs. In my hurry to escape I took a clumsy step, put
              George’s big toe on the hem of my nightie and down I went on top of the crabs. I need
              hardly say that George was awakened by an appalling shriek and came rushing to my
              aid like a knight of old.  Anyway, alarms and excursions not withstanding, we had a wonderful weekend on the island and I was sorry to return to the heat of Dar es Salaam, though the evenings
              here are lovely and it is heavenly driving along the coast road by car or in a rickshaw.
              I was surprised to find so many Indians here. Most of the shops, large and small,
              seem to be owned by Indians and the place teems with them. The women wear
              colourful saris and their hair in long black plaits reaching to their waists. Many wear baggy
              trousers of silk or satin. They give a carnival air to the sea front towards sunset.
              This long letter has been written in instalments throughout the day. My first break
              was when I heard the sound of a band and rushed to the balcony in time to see The
              Kings African Rifles band and Askaris march down the Avenue on their way to an
              Armistice Memorial Service. They looked magnificent.

              I must end on a note of most primitive pride. George returned from his shopping
              expedition and beamingly informed me that he had thrashed the man who annoyed me
              on the ship. I felt extremely delighted and pressed for details. George told me that
              when he went out shopping he noticed to his surprise that the ‘Timavo” was still in the
              harbour. He went across to the Agents office and there saw a man who answered to the
              description I had given. George said to him “Is your name Taylor?”, and when he said
              “yes”, George said “Well my name is George Rushby”, whereupon he hit Taylor on the
              jaw so that he sailed over the counter and down the other side. Very satisfactory, I feel.
              With much love to all.

              Your cave woman
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. P.O. Mbeya 22 November 1930

              Dearest Family,

              Well here we are at our Country Seat, Mchewe Estate. (pronounced
              Mn,-che’-we) but I will start at the beginning of our journey and describe the farm later.
              We left the hotel at Dar es Salaam for the station in a taxi crowded with baggage
              and at the last moment Keith Wood ran out with the unwrapped bottom layer of our
              wedding cake. It remained in its naked state from there to here travelling for two days in
              the train on the luggage rack, four days in the car on my knee, reposing at night on the
              roof of the car exposed to the winds of Heaven, and now rests beside me in the tent
              looking like an old old tombstone. We have no tin large enough to hold it and one
              simply can’t throw away ones wedding cake so, as George does not eat cake, I can see
              myself eating wedding cake for tea for months to come, ants permitting.

              We travelled up by train from Dar to Dodoma, first through the lush vegetation of
              the coastal belt to Morogoro, then through sisal plantations now very overgrown with
              weeds owing to the slump in prices, and then on to the arid area around Dodoma. This
              part of the country is very dry at this time of the year and not unlike parts of our Karoo.
              The train journey was comfortable enough but slow as the engines here are fed with
              wood and not coal as in South Africa.

              Dodoma is the nearest point on the railway to Mbeya so we left the train there to
              continue our journey by road. We arrived at the one and only hotel in the early hours and
              whilst someone went to rout out the night watchman the rest of us sat on the dismal
              verandah amongst a litter of broken glass. Some bright spark remarked on the obvious –
              that there had been a party the night before.

              When we were shown to a room I thought I rather preferred the verandah,
              because the beds had not yet been made up and there was a bucket of vomit beside
              the old fashioned washstand. However George soon got the boys to clean up the
              room and I fell asleep to be awakened by George with an invitation to come and see
              our car before breakfast.

              Yes, we have our own car. It is a Chev, with what is called a box body. That
              means that sides, roof and doors are made by a local Indian carpenter. There is just the
              one front seat with a kapok mattress on it. The tools are kept in a sort of cupboard fixed
              to the side so there is a big space for carrying “safari kit” behind the cab seat.
              Lamek, who had travelled up on the same train, appeared after breakfast, and
              helped George to pack all our luggage into the back of the car. Besides our suitcases
              there was a huge bedroll, kitchen utensils and a box of provisions, tins of petrol and
              water and all Lamek’s bits and pieces which included three chickens in a wicker cage and
              an enormous bunch of bananas about 3 ft long.

              When all theses things were packed there remained only a small space between
              goods and ceiling and into this Lamek squeezed. He lay on his back with his horny feet a
              mere inch or so from the back of my head. In this way we travelled 400 miles over
              bumpy earth roads and crude pole bridges, but whenever we stopped for a meal
              Lamek wriggled out and, like Aladdin’s genie, produced good meals in no time at all.
              In the afternoon we reached a large river called the Ruaha. Workmen were busy
              building a large bridge across it but it is not yet ready so we crossed by a ford below
              the bridge. George told me that the river was full of crocodiles but though I looked hard, I
              did not see any. This is also elephant country but I did not see any of those either, only
              piles of droppings on the road. I must tell you that the natives around these parts are called Wahehe and the river is Ruaha – enough to make a cat laugh. We saw some Wahehe out hunting with spears
              and bows and arrows. They live in long low houses with the tiniest shuttered windows
              and rounded roofs covered with earth.

              Near the river we also saw a few Masai herding cattle. They are rather terrifying to
              look at – tall, angular, and very aloof. They wear nothing but a blanket knotted on one
              shoulder, concealing nothing, and all carried one or two spears.
              The road climbs steeply on the far side of the Ruaha and one has the most
              tremendous views over the plains. We spent our first night up there in the high country.
              Everything was taken out of the car, the bed roll opened up and George and I slept
              comfortably in the back of the car whilst Lamek, rolled in a blanket, slept soundly by a
              small fire nearby. Next morning we reached our first township, Iringa, and put up at the
              Colonist Hotel. We had a comfortable room in the annex overlooking the golf course.
              our room had its own little dressing room which was also the bathroom because, when
              ordered to do so, the room boy carried in an oval galvanised bath and filled it with hot
              water which he carried in a four gallon petrol tin.

              When we crossed to the main building for lunch, George was immediately hailed
              by several men who wanted to meet the bride. I was paid some handsome
              compliments but was not sure whether they were sincere or the result of a nice alcoholic
              glow. Anyhow every one was very friendly.

              After lunch I went back to the bedroom leaving George chatting away. I waited and
              waited – no George. I got awfully tired of waiting and thought I’d give him a fright so I
              walked out onto the deserted golf course and hid behind some large boulders. Soon I
              saw George returning to the room and the boy followed with a tea tray. Ah, now the hue
              and cry will start, thought I, but no, no George appeared nor could I hear any despairing
              cry. When sunset came I trailed crossly back to our hotel room where George lay
              innocently asleep on his bed, hands folded on his chest like a crusader on his tomb. In a
              moment he opened his eyes, smiled sleepily and said kindly, “Did you have a nice walk
              my love?” So of course I couldn’t play the neglected wife as he obviously didn’t think
              me one and we had a very pleasant dinner and party in the hotel that evening.
              Next day we continued our journey but turned aside to visit the farm of a sprightly
              old man named St.Leger Seaton whom George had known for many years, so it was
              after dark before George decided that we had covered our quota of miles for the day.
              Whilst he and Lamek unpacked I wandered off to a stream to cool my hot feet which had
              baked all day on the floor boards of the car. In the rather dim moonlight I sat down on the
              grassy bank and gratefully dabbled my feet in the cold water. A few minutes later I
              started up with a shriek – I had the sensation of red hot pins being dug into all my most
              sensitive parts. I started clawing my clothes off and, by the time George came to the
              rescue with the lamp, I was practically in the nude. “Only Siafu ants,” said George calmly.
              Take off all your clothes and get right in the water.” So I had a bathe whilst George
              picked the ants off my clothes by the light of the lamp turned very low for modesty’s
              sake. Siafu ants are beastly things. They are black ants with outsized heads and
              pinchers. I shall be very, very careful where I sit in future.

              The next day was even hotter. There was no great variety in the scenery. Most
              of the country was covered by a tree called Miombo, which is very ordinary when the
              foliage is a mature deep green, but when in new leaf the trees look absolutely beautiful
              as the leaves,surprisingly, are soft pastel shades of red and yellow.

              Once again we turned aside from the main road to visit one of George’s friends.
              This man Major Hugh Jones MC, has a farm only a few miles from ours but just now he is supervising the making of an airstrip. Major Jones is quite a character. He is below
              average height and skinny with an almost bald head and one nearly blind eye into which
              he screws a monocle. He is a cultured person and will, I am sure, make an interesting
              neighbour. George and Major Jones’ friends call him ‘Joni’ but he is generally known in
              this country as ‘Ropesoles’ – as he is partial to that type of footwear.
              We passed through Mbeya township after dark so I have no idea what the place
              is like. The last 100 miles of our journey was very dusty and the last 15 miles extremely
              bumpy. The road is used so little that in some places we had to plow our way through
              long grass and I was delighted when at last George turned into a side road and said
              “This is our place.” We drove along the bank of the Mchewe River, then up a hill and
              stopped at a tent which was pitched beside the half built walls of our new home. We
              were expected so there was hot water for baths and after a supper of tinned food and
              good hot tea, I climbed thankfully into bed.

              Next morning I was awakened by the chattering of the African workmen and was
              soon out to inspect the new surroundings. Our farm was once part of Hickson Wood’s
              land and is separated from theirs by a river. Our houses cannot be more than a few
              hundred yards apart as the crow flies but as both are built on the slopes of a long range
              of high hills, and one can only cross the river at the foot of the slopes, it will be quite a
              safari to go visiting on foot . Most of our land is covered with shoulder high grass but it
              has been partly cleared of trees and scrub. Down by the river George has made a long
              coffee nursery and a large vegetable garden but both coffee and vegetable seedlings
              are too small to be of use.

              George has spared all the trees that will make good shade for the coffee later on.
              There are several huge wild fig trees as big as oaks but with smooth silvery-green trunks
              and branches and there are lots of acacia thorn trees with flat tops like Japanese sun
              shades. I’ve seen lovely birds in the fig trees, Louries with bright plumage and crested
              heads, and Blue Rollers, and in the grasslands there are widow birds with incredibly long
              black tail feathers.

              There are monkeys too and horrible but fascinating tree lizards with blue bodies
              and orange heads. There are so many, many things to tell you but they must wait for
              another time as James, the house boy, has been to say “Bafu tiari” and if I don’t go at
              once, the bath will be cold.

              I am very very happy and terribly interested in this new life so please don’t
              worry about me.

              Much love to you all,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate 29th. November 1930

              Dearest Family,

              I’ve lots of time to write letters just now because George is busy supervising the
              building of the house from early morning to late afternoon – with a break for lunch of
              course.

              On our second day here our tent was moved from the house site to a small
              clearing further down the slope of our hill. Next to it the labourers built a ‘banda’ , which is
              a three sided grass hut with thatched roof – much cooler than the tent in this weather.
              There is also a little grass lav. so you see we have every convenience. I spend most of
              my day in the banda reading or writing letters. Occasionally I wander up to the house site
              and watch the building, but mostly I just sit.

              I did try exploring once. I wandered down a narrow path towards the river. I
              thought I might paddle and explore the river a little but I came round a bend and there,
              facing me, was a crocodile. At least for a moment I thought it was and my adrenaline
              glands got very busy indeed. But it was only an enormous monitor lizard, four or five
              feet long. It must have been as scared as I was because it turned and rushed off through
              the grass. I turned and walked hastily back to the camp and as I passed the house site I
              saw some boys killing a large puff adder. Now I do my walking in the evenings with
              George. Nothing alarming ever seems to happen when he is around.

              It is interesting to watch the boys making bricks for the house. They make a pile
              of mud which they trample with their feet until it is the right consistency. Then they fill
              wooden moulds with the clayey mud, and press it down well and turn out beautiful shiny,
              dark brown bricks which are laid out in rows and covered with grass to bake slowly in the
              sun.

              Most of the materials for the building are right here at hand. The walls will be sun
              dried bricks and there is a white clay which will make a good whitewash for the inside
              walls. The chimney and walls will be of burnt brick and tiles and George is now busy
              building a kiln for this purpose. Poles for the roof are being cut in the hills behind the
              house and every day women come along with large bundles of thatching grass on their
              heads. Our windows are modern steel casement ones and the doors have been made
              at a mission in the district. George does some of the bricklaying himself. The other
              bricklayer is an African from Northern Rhodesia called Pedro. It makes me perspire just
              to look at Pedro who wears an overcoat all day in the very hot sun.
              Lamek continues to please. He turns out excellent meals, chicken soup followed
              by roast chicken, vegetables from the Hickson-Woods garden and a steamed pudding
              or fruit to wind up the meal. I enjoy the chicken but George is fed up with it and longs for
              good red meat. The chickens are only about as large as a partridge but then they cost
              only sixpence each.

              I had my first visit to Mbeya two days ago. I put on my very best trousseau frock
              for the occasion- that yellow striped silk one – and wore my wedding hat. George didn’t
              comment, but I saw later that I was dreadfully overdressed.
              Mbeya at the moment is a very small settlement consisting of a bundle of small
              Indian shops – Dukas they call them, which stock European tinned foods and native soft
              goods which seem to be mainly of Japanese origin. There is a one storied Government
              office called the Boma and two attractive gabled houses of burnt brick which house the
              District Officer and his Assistant. Both these houses have lovely gardens but i saw them
              only from the outside as we did not call. After buying our stores George said “Lets go to the pub, I want you to meet Mrs Menzies.” Well the pub turned out to be just three or four grass rondavels on a bare
              plot. The proprietor, Ken Menzies, came out to welcome us. I took to him at once
              because he has the same bush sandy eyebrows as you have Dad. He told me that
              unfortunately his wife is away at the coast, and then he ushered me through the door
              saying “Here’s George with his bride.” then followed the Iringa welcome all over again,
              only more so, because the room was full of diggers from the Lupa Goldfields about fifty
              miles away.

              Champagne corks popped as I shook hands all around and George was
              clapped on the back. I could see he was a favourite with everyone and I tried not to be
              gauche and let him down. These men were all most kind and most appeared to be men
              of more than average education. However several were unshaven and looked as
              though they had slept in their clothes as I suppose they had. When they have a little luck
              on the diggings they come in here to Menzies pub and spend the lot. George says
              they bring their gold dust and small nuggets in tobacco tins or Kruschen salts jars and
              hand them over to Ken Menzies saying “Tell me when I’ve spent the lot.” Ken then
              weighs the gold and estimates its value and does exactly what the digger wants.
              However the Diggers get good value for their money because besides the drink
              they get companionship and good food and nursing if they need it. Mrs Menzies is a
              trained nurse and most kind and capable from what I was told. There is no doctor or
              hospital here so her experience as a nursing sister is invaluable.
              We had lunch at the Hotel and afterwards I poured tea as I was the only female
              present. Once the shyness had worn off I rather enjoyed myself.

              Now to end off I must tell you a funny story of how I found out that George likes
              his women to be feminine. You will remember those dashing black silk pyjamas Aunt
              Mary gave me, with flowered “happy coat” to match. Well last night I thought I’d give
              George a treat and when the boy called me for my bath I left George in the ‘banda’
              reading the London Times. After my bath I put on my Japanese pyjamas and coat,
              peered into the shaving mirror which hangs from the tent pole and brushed my hair until it
              shone. I must confess that with my fringe and shingled hair I thought I made quite a
              glamourous Japanese girl. I walked coyly across to the ‘banda’. Alas no compliment.
              George just glanced up from the Times and went on reading.
              He was away rather a long time when it came to his turn to bath. I glanced up
              when he came back and had a slight concussion. George, if you please, was arrayed in
              my very best pale yellow satin nightie. The one with the lace and ribbon sash and little
              bows on the shoulder. I knew exactly what he meant to convey. I was not to wear the
              trousers in the family. I seethed inwardly, but pretending not to notice, I said calmly “shall
              I call for food?” In this garb George sat down to dinner and it says a great deal for African
              phlegm that the boy did not drop the dishes.

              We conversed politely about this and that, and then, as usual, George went off
              to bed. I appeared to be engrossed in my book and did not stir. When I went to the
              tent some time later George lay fast asleep still in my nightie, though all I could see of it
              was the little ribbon bows looking farcically out of place on his broad shoulders.
              This morning neither of us mentioned the incident, George was up and dressed
              by the time I woke up but I have been smiling all day to think what a ridiculous picture
              we made at dinner. So farewell to pyjamas and hey for ribbons and bows.

              Your loving
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. Mbeya. 8th December 1930

              Dearest Family,

              A mere shadow of her former buxom self lifts a languid pen to write to you. I’m
              convalescing after my first and I hope my last attack of malaria. It was a beastly
              experience but all is now well and I am eating like a horse and will soon regain my
              bounce.

              I took ill on the evening of the day I wrote my last letter to you. It started with a
              splitting headache and fits of shivering. The symptoms were all too familiar to George
              who got me into bed and filled me up with quinine. He then piled on all the available
              blankets and packed me in hot water bottles. I thought I’d explode and said so and
              George said just to lie still and I’d soon break into a good sweat. However nothing of the
              kind happened and next day my temperature was 105 degrees. Instead of feeling
              miserable as I had done at the onset, I now felt very merry and most chatty. George
              now tells me I sang the most bawdy songs but I hardly think it likely. Do you?
              You cannot imagine how tenderly George nursed me, not only that day but
              throughout the whole eight days I was ill. As we do not employ any African house
              women, and there are no white women in the neighbourhood at present to whom we
              could appeal for help, George had to do everything for me. It was unbearably hot in the
              tent so George decided to move me across to the Hickson-Woods vacant house. They
              have not yet returned from the coast.

              George decided I was too weak to make the trip in the car so he sent a
              messenger over to the Woods’ house for their Machila. A Machila is a canopied canvas
              hammock slung from a bamboo pole and carried by four bearers. The Machila duly
              arrived and I attempted to walk to it, clinging to George’s arm, but collapsed in a faint so
              the trip was postponed to the next morning when I felt rather better. Being carried by
              Machila is quite pleasant but I was in no shape to enjoy anything and got thankfully into
              bed in the Hickson-Woods large, cool and rather dark bedroom. My condition did not
              improve and George decided to send a runner for the Government Doctor at Tukuyu
              about 60 miles away. Two days later Dr Theis arrived by car and gave me two
              injections of quinine which reduced the fever. However I still felt very weak and had to
              spend a further four days in bed.

              We have now decided to stay on here until the Hickson-Woods return by which
              time our own house should be ready. George goes off each morning and does not
              return until late afternoon. However don’t think “poor Eleanor” because I am very
              comfortable here and there are lots of books to read and the days seem to pass very
              quickly.

              The Hickson-Wood’s house was built by Major Jones and I believe the one on
              his shamba is just like it. It is a square red brick building with a wide verandah all around
              and, rather astonishingly, a conical thatched roof. There is a beautiful view from the front
              of the house and a nice flower garden. The coffee shamba is lower down on the hill.
              Mrs Wood’s first husband, George’s friend Vi Lumb, is buried in the flower
              garden. He died of blackwater fever about five years ago. I’m told that before her
              second marriage Kath lived here alone with her little daughter, Maureen, and ran the farm
              entirely on her own. She must be quite a person. I bet she didn’t go and get malaria
              within a few weeks of her marriage.

              The native tribe around here are called Wasafwa. They are pretty primitive but
              seem amiable people. Most of the men, when they start work, wear nothing but some
              kind of sheet of unbleached calico wrapped round their waists and hanging to mid calf. As soon as they have drawn their wages they go off to a duka and buy a pair of khaki
              shorts for five or six shillings. Their women folk wear very short beaded skirts. I think the
              base is goat skin but have never got close enough for a good look. They are very shy.
              I hear from George that they have started on the roof of our house but I have not
              seen it myself since the day I was carried here by Machila. My letters by the way go to
              the Post Office by runner. George’s farm labourers take it in turn to act in this capacity.
              The mail bag is given to them on Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening they are
              back with our very welcome mail.

              Very much love,
              Eleanor.

              Mbeya 23rd December 1930

              Dearest Family,

              George drove to Mbeya for stores last week and met Col. Sherwood-Kelly VC.
              who has been sent by the Government to Mbeya as Game Ranger. His job will be to
              protect native crops from raiding elephants and hippo etc., and to protect game from
              poachers. He has had no training for this so he has asked George to go with him on his
              first elephant safari to show him the ropes.

              George likes Col. Kelly and was quite willing to go on safari but not willing to
              leave me alone on the farm as I am still rather shaky after malaria. So it was arranged that
              I should go to Mbeya and stay with Mrs Harmer, the wife of the newly appointed Lands
              and Mines Officer, whose husband was away on safari.

              So here I am in Mbeya staying in the Harmers temporary wattle and daub
              house. Unfortunately I had a relapse of the malaria and stayed in bed for three days with
              a temperature. Poor Mrs Harmer had her hands full because in the room next to mine
              she was nursing a digger with blackwater fever. I could hear his delirious babble through
              the thin wall – very distressing. He died poor fellow , and leaves a wife and seven
              children.

              I feel better than I have done for weeks and this afternoon I walked down to the
              store. There are great signs of activity and people say that Mbeya will grow rapidly now
              owing to the boom on the gold fields and also to the fact that a large aerodrome is to be
              built here. Mbeya is to be a night stop on the proposed air service between England
              and South Africa. I seem to be the last of the pioneers. If all these schemes come about
              Mbeya will become quite suburban.

              26th December 1930

              George, Col. Kelly and Mr Harmer all returned to Mbeya on Christmas Eve and
              it was decided that we should stay and have midday Christmas dinner with the
              Harmers. Col. Kelly and the Assistant District Commissioner came too and it was quite a
              festive occasion, We left Mbeya in the early afternoon and had our evening meal here at
              Hickson-Wood’s farm. I wore my wedding dress.

              I went across to our house in the car this morning. George usually walks across to
              save petrol which is very expensive here. He takes a short cut and wades through the
              river. The distance by road is very much longer than the short cut. The men are now
              thatching the roof of our cottage and it looks charming. It consists of a very large living
              room-dinning room with a large inglenook fireplace at one end. The bedroom is a large
              square room with a smaller verandah room adjoining it. There is a wide verandah in the
              front, from which one has a glorious view over a wide valley to the Livingstone
              Mountains on the horizon. Bathroom and storeroom are on the back verandah and the
              kitchen is some distance behind the house to minimise the risk of fire.

              You can imagine how much I am looking forward to moving in. We have some
              furniture which was made by an Indian carpenter at Iringa, refrectory dining table and
              chairs, some small tables and two armchairs and two cupboards and a meatsafe. Other
              things like bookshelves and extra cupboards we will have to make ourselves. George
              has also bought a portable gramophone and records which will be a boon.
              We also have an Irish wolfhound puppy, a skinny little chap with enormous feet
              who keeps me company all day whilst George is across at our farm working on the
              house.

              Lots and lots of love,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate 8th Jan 1931

              Dearest Family,

              Alas, I have lost my little companion. The Doctor called in here on Boxing night
              and ran over and killed Paddy, our pup. It was not his fault but I was very distressed
              about it and George has promised to try and get another pup from the same litter.
              The Hickson-Woods returned home on the 29th December so we decided to
              move across to our nearly finished house on the 1st January. Hicky Wood decided that
              we needed something special to mark the occasion so he went off and killed a sucking
              pig behind the kitchen. The piglet’s screams were terrible and I felt that I would not be
              able to touch any dinner. Lamek cooked and served sucking pig up in the traditional way
              but it was high and quite literally, it stank. Our first meal in our own home was not a
              success.

              However next day all was forgotten and I had something useful to do. George
              hung doors and I held the tools and I also planted rose cuttings I had brought from
              Mbeya and sowed several boxes with seeds.

              Dad asked me about the other farms in the area. I haven’t visited any but there
              are five besides ours. One belongs to the Lutheran Mission at Utengule, a few miles
              from here. The others all belong to British owners. Nearest to Mbeya, at the foot of a
              very high peak which gives Mbeya its name, are two farms, one belonging to a South
              African mining engineer named Griffiths, the other to I.G.Stewart who was an officer in the
              Kings African Rifles. Stewart has a young woman called Queenie living with him. We are
              some miles further along the range of hills and are some 23 miles from Mbeya by road.
              The Mchewe River divides our land from the Hickson-Woods and beyond their farm is
              Major Jones.

              All these people have been away from their farms for some time but have now
              returned so we will have some neighbours in future. However although the houses are
              not far apart as the crow flies, they are all built high in the foothills and it is impossible to
              connect the houses because of the rivers and gorges in between. One has to drive right
              down to the main road and then up again so I do not suppose we will go visiting very
              often as the roads are very bumpy and eroded and petrol is so expensive that we all
              save it for occasional trips to Mbeya.

              The rains are on and George has started to plant out some coffee seedlings. The
              rains here are strange. One can hear the rain coming as it moves like a curtain along the
              range of hills. It comes suddenly, pours for a little while and passes on and the sun
              shines again.

              I do like it here and I wish you could see or dear little home.

              Your loving,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 1st April 1931

              Dearest Family,

              Everything is now running very smoothly in our home. Lamek continues to
              produce palatable meals and makes wonderful bread which he bakes in a four gallon
              petrol tin as we have no stove yet. He puts wood coals on the brick floor of the kitchen,
              lays the tin lengh-wise on the coals and heaps more on top. The bread tins are then put
              in the petrol tin, which has one end cut away, and the open end is covered by a flat
              piece of tin held in place by a brick. Cakes are also backed in this make-shift oven and I
              have never known Lamek to have a failure yet.

              Lamek has a helper, known as the ‘mpishi boy’ , who does most of the hard
              work, cleans pots and pans and chops the firewood etc. Another of the mpishi boy’s
              chores is to kill the two chickens we eat each day. The chickens run wild during the day
              but are herded into a small chicken house at night. One of the kitchen boy’s first duties is
              to let the chickens out first thing in the early morning. Some time after breakfast it dawns
              on Lamek that he will need a chicken for lunch. he informs the kitchen boy who selects a
              chicken and starts to chase it in which he is enthusiastically joined by our new Irish
              wolfhound pup, Kelly. Together they race after the frantic fowl, over the flower beds and
              around the house until finally the chicken collapses from sheer exhaustion. The kitchen
              boy then hands it over to Lamek who murders it with the kitchen knife and then pops the
              corpse into boiling water so the feathers can be stripped off with ease.

              I pointed out in vain, that it would be far simpler if the doomed chickens were kept
              in the chicken house in the mornings when the others were let out and also that the correct
              way to pluck chickens is when they are dry. Lamek just smiled kindly and said that that
              may be so in Europe but that his way is the African way and none of his previous
              Memsahibs has complained.

              My houseboy, named James, is clean and capable in the house and also a
              good ‘dhobi’ or washboy. He takes the washing down to the river and probably
              pounds it with stones, but I prefer not to look. The ironing is done with a charcoal iron
              only we have no charcoal and he uses bits of wood from the kitchen fire but so far there
              has not been a mishap.

              It gets dark here soon after sunset and then George lights the oil lamps and we
              have tea and toast in front of the log fire which burns brightly in our inglenook. This is my
              favourite hour of the day. Later George goes for his bath. I have mine in the mornings
              and we have dinner at half past eight. Then we talk a bit and read a bit and sometimes
              play the gramophone. I expect it all sounds pretty unexciting but it doesn’t seem so to
              me.

              Very much love,
              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate 20th April 1931

              Dearest Family,

              It is still raining here and the countryside looks very lush and green, very different
              from the Mbeya district I first knew, when plains and hills were covered in long brown
              grass – very course stuff that grows shoulder high.

              Most of the labourers are hill men and one can see little patches of cultivation in
              the hills. Others live in small villages near by, each consisting of a cluster of thatched huts
              and a few maize fields and perhaps a patch of bananas. We do not have labour lines on
              the farm because our men all live within easy walking distance. Each worker has a labour
              card with thirty little squares on it. One of these squares is crossed off for each days work
              and when all thirty are marked in this way the labourer draws his pay and hies himself off
              to the nearest small store and blows the lot. The card system is necessary because
              these Africans are by no means slaves to work. They work only when they feel like it or
              when someone in the family requires a new garment, or when they need a few shillings
              to pay their annual tax. Their fields, chickens and goats provide them with the food they
              need but they draw rations of maize meal beans and salt. Only our headman is on a
              salary. His name is Thomas and he looks exactly like the statues of Julius Caesar, the
              same bald head and muscular neck and sardonic expression. He comes from Northern
              Rhodesia and is more intelligent than the locals.

              We still live mainly on chickens. We have a boy whose job it is to scour the
              countryside for reasonable fat ones. His name is Lucas and he is quite a character. He
              has such long horse teeth that he does not seem able to close his mouth and wears a
              perpetual amiable smile. He brings his chickens in beehive shaped wicker baskets
              which are suspended on a pole which Lucas carries on his shoulder.

              We buy our groceries in bulk from Mbeya, our vegetables come from our
              garden by the river and our butter from Kath Wood. Our fresh milk we buy from the
              natives. It is brought each morning by three little totos each carrying one bottle on his
              shaven head. Did I tell you that the local Wasafwa file their teeth to points. These kids
              grin at one with their little sharks teeth – quite an “all-ready-to-eat-you-with-my-dear” look.
              A few nights ago a message arrived from Kath Wood to say that Queenie
              Stewart was very ill and would George drive her across to the Doctor at Tukuyu. I
              wanted George to wait until morning because it was pouring with rain, and the mountain
              road to Tukuyu is tricky even in dry weather, but he said it is dangerous to delay with any
              kind of fever in Africa and he would have to start at once. So off he drove in the rain and I
              did not see him again until the following night.

              George said that it had been a nightmare trip. Queenie had a high temperature
              and it was lucky that Kath was able to go to attend to her. George needed all his
              attention on the road which was officially closed to traffic, and very slippery, and in some
              places badly eroded. In some places the decking of bridges had been removed and
              George had to get out in the rain and replace it. As he had nothing with which to fasten
              the decking to the runners it was a dangerous undertaking to cross the bridges especially
              as the rivers are now in flood and flowing strongly. However they reached Tukuyu safely
              and it was just as well they went because the Doctor diagnosed Queenies illness as
              Spirillium Tick Fever which is a very nasty illness indeed.

              Eleanor.

              Mchewe Estate. 20th May 1931

              Dear Family,

              I’m feeling fit and very happy though a bit lonely sometimes because George
              spends much of his time away in the hills cutting a furrow miles long to bring water to the
              house and to the upper part of the shamba so that he will be able to irrigate the coffee
              during the dry season.

              It will be quite an engineering feat when it is done as George only has makeshift
              surveying instruments. He has mounted an ordinary cheap spirit level on an old camera
              tripod and has tacked two gramophone needles into the spirit level to give him a line.
              The other day part of a bank gave way and practically buried two of George’s labourers
              but they were quickly rescued and no harm was done. However he will not let them
              work unless he is there to supervise.

              I keep busy so that the days pass quickly enough. I am delighted with the
              material you sent me for curtains and loose covers and have hired a hand sewing
              machine from Pedro-of-the-overcoat and am rattling away all day. The machine is an
              ancient German one and when I say rattle, I mean rattle. It is a most cumbersome, heavy
              affair of I should say, the same vintage as George Stevenson’s Rocket locomotive.
              Anyway it sews and I am pleased with my efforts. We made a couch ourselves out of a
              native bed, a mattress and some planks but all this is hidden under the chintz cover and
              it looks quite the genuine bought article. I have some diversions too. Small black faced
              monkeys sit in the trees outside our bedroom window and they are most entertaining to
              watch. They are very mischievous though. When I went out into the garden this morning
              before breakfast I found that the monkeys had pulled up all my carnations. There they
              lay, roots in the air and whether they will take again I don’t know.

              I like the monkeys but hate the big mountain baboons that come and hang
              around our chicken house. I am terrified that they will tear our pup into bits because he is
              a plucky young thing and will rush out to bark at the baboons.

              George usually returns for the weekends but last time he did not because he had
              a touch of malaria. He sent a boy down for the mail and some fresh bread. Old Lucas
              arrived with chickens just as the messenger was setting off with mail and bread in a
              haversack on his back. I thought it might be a good idea to send a chicken to George so
              I selected a spry young rooster which I handed to the messenger. He, however,
              complained that he needed both hands for climbing. I then had one of my bright ideas
              and, putting a layer of newspaper over the bread, I tucked the rooster into the haversack
              and buckled down the flap so only his head protruded.

              I thought no more about it until two days later when the messenger again
              appeared for fresh bread. He brought a rather terse note from George saying that the
              previous bread was uneatable as the rooster had eaten some of it and messed on the
              rest. Ah me!

              The previous weekend the Hickson-Woods, Stewarts and ourselves, went
              across to Tukuyu to attend a dance at the club there. the dance was very pleasant. All
              the men wore dinner jackets and the ladies wore long frocks. As there were about
              twenty men and only seven ladies we women danced every dance whilst the surplus
              men got into a huddle around the bar. George and I spent the night with the Agricultural
              Officer, Mr Eustace, and I met his fiancee, Lillian Austin from South Africa, to whom I took
              a great liking. She is Governess to the children of Major Masters who has a farm in the
              Tukuyu district.

              On the Sunday morning we had a look at the township. The Boma was an old German one and was once fortified as the Africans in this district are a very warlike tribe.
              They are fine looking people. The men wear sort of togas and bands of cloth around
              their heads and look like Roman Senators, but the women go naked except for a belt
              from which two broad straps hang down, one in front and another behind. Not a graceful
              garb I assure you.

              We also spent a pleasant hour in the Botanical Gardens, laid out during the last
              war by the District Commissioner, Major Wells, with German prisoner of war labour.
              There are beautiful lawns and beds of roses and other flowers and shady palm lined
              walks and banana groves. The gardens are terraced with flights of brick steps connecting
              the different levels and there is a large artificial pond with little islands in it. I believe Major
              Wells designed the lake to resemble in miniature, the Lakes of Killarney.
              I enjoyed the trip very much. We got home at 8 pm to find the front door locked
              and the kitchen boy fast asleep on my newly covered couch! I hastily retreated to the
              bedroom whilst George handled the situation.

              Eleanor.

              #6259
              TracyTracy
              Participant

                George “Mike” Rushby

                A short autobiography of George Gilman Rushby’s son, published in the Blackwall Bugle, Australia.

                Early in 2009, Ballina Shire Council Strategic and
                Community Services Group Manager, Steve Barnier,
                suggested that it would be a good idea for the Wardell
                and District community to put out a bi-monthly
                newsletter. I put my hand up to edit the publication and
                since then, over 50 issues of “The Blackwall Bugle”
                have been produced, encouraged by Ballina Shire
                Council who host the newsletter on their website.
                Because I usually write the stories that other people
                generously share with me, I have been asked by several
                community members to let them know who I am. Here is
                my attempt to let you know!

                My father, George Gilman Rushby was born in England
                in 1900. An Electrician, he migrated to Africa as a young
                man to hunt and to prospect for gold. He met Eleanor
                Dunbar Leslie who was a high school teacher in Cape
                Town. They later married in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika.
                I was the second child and first son and was born in a
                mud hut in Tanganyika in 1933. I spent my first years on
                a coffee plantation. When four years old, and with
                parents and elder sister on a remote goldfield, I caught
                typhoid fever. I was seriously ill and had no access to
                proper medical facilities. My paternal grandmother
                sailed out to Africa from England on a steam ship and
                took me back to England for medical treatment. My
                sister Ann came too. Then Adolf Hitler started WWII and
                Ann and I were separated from our parents for 9 years.

                Sister Ann and I were not to see him or our mother for
                nine years because of the war. Dad served as a Captain in
                the King’s African Rifles operating in the North African
                desert, while our Mum managed the coffee plantation at
                home in Tanganyika.

                Ann and I lived with our Grandmother and went to
                school in Nottingham England. In 1946 the family was
                reunited. We lived in Mbeya in Southern Tanganyika
                where my father was then the District Manager of the
                National Parks and Wildlife Authority. There was no
                high school in Tanganyika so I had to go to school in
                Nairobi, Kenya. It took five days travelling each way by
                train and bus including two days on a steamer crossing
                Lake Victoria.

                However, the school year was only two terms with long
                holidays in between.

                When I was seventeen, I left high school. There was
                then no university in East Africa. There was no work
                around as Tanganyika was about to become
                independent of the British Empire and become
                Tanzania. Consequently jobs were reserved for
                Africans.

                A war had broken out in Korea. I took a day off from
                high school and visited the British Army headquarters
                in Nairobi. I signed up for military service intending to
                go to Korea. The army flew me to England. During
                Army basic training I was nicknamed ‘Mike’ and have
                been called Mike ever since. I never got to Korea!
                After my basic training I volunteered for the Parachute
                Regiment and the army sent me to Egypt where the
                Suez Canal was under threat. I carried out parachute
                operations in the Sinai Desert and in Cyprus and
                Jordan. I was then selected for officer training and was
                sent to England to the Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School
                in Cheshire. Whilst in Cheshire, I met my future wife
                Jeanette. I graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the
                Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and was posted to West
                Berlin, which was then one hundred miles behind the
                Iron Curtain. My duties included patrolling the
                demarcation line that separated the allies from the
                Russian forces. The Berlin Wall was yet to be built. I
                also did occasional duty as guard commander of the
                guard at Spandau Prison where Adolf Hitler’s deputy
                Rudolf Hess was the only prisoner.

                From Berlin, my Regiment was sent to Malaya to
                undertake deep jungle operations against communist
                terrorists that were attempting to overthrow the
                Malayan Government. I was then a Lieutenant in
                command of a platoon of about 40 men which would go
                into the jungle for three weeks to a month with only air
                re-supply to keep us going. On completion of my jungle
                service, I returned to England and married Jeanette. I
                had to stand up throughout the church wedding
                ceremony because I had damaged my right knee in a
                competitive cross-country motorcycle race and wore a
                splint and restrictive bandage for the occasion!
                At this point I took a career change and transferred
                from the infantry to the Royal Military Police. I was in
                charge of the security of British, French and American
                troops using the autobahn link from West Germany to
                the isolated Berlin. Whilst in Germany and Austria I
                took up snow skiing as a sport.

                Jeanette and I seemed to attract unusual little
                adventures along the way — each adventure trivial in
                itself but adding up to give us a ‘different’ path through
                life. Having climbed Mount Snowdon up the ‘easy way’
                we were witness to a serious climbing accident where a
                member of the staff of a Cunard Shipping Line
                expedition fell and suffered serious injury. It was
                Sunday a long time ago. The funicular railway was
                closed. There was no telephone. So I ran all the way
                down Mount Snowdon to raise the alarm.

                On a road trip from Verden in Germany to Berlin with
                our old Opel Kapitan motor car stacked to the roof with
                all our worldly possessions, we broke down on the ice and snow covered autobahn. We still had a hundred kilometres to go.

                A motorcycle patrolman flagged down a B-Double
                tanker. He hooked us to the tanker with a very short tow
                cable and off we went. The truck driver couldn’t see us
                because we were too close and his truck threw up a
                constant deluge of ice and snow so we couldn’t see
                anyway. We survived the hundred kilometre ‘sleigh
                ride!’

                I then went back to the other side of the world where I
                carried out military police duties in Singapore and
                Malaya for three years. I took up scuba diving and
                loved the ocean. Jeanette and I, with our two little
                daughters, took a holiday to South Africa to see my
                parents. We sailed on a ship of the Holland-Afrika Line.
                It broke down for four days and drifted uncontrollably
                in dangerous waters off the Skeleton Coast of Namibia
                until the crew could get the ship’s motor running again.
                Then, in Cape Town, we were walking the beach near
                Hermanus with my youngest brother and my parents,
                when we found the dead body of a man who had thrown
                himself off a cliff. The police came and secured the site.
                Back with the army, I was promoted to Major and
                appointed Provost Marshal of the ACE Mobile Force
                (Allied Command Europe) with dual headquarters in
                Salisbury, England and Heidelberg, Germany. The cold
                war was at its height and I was on operations in Greece,
                Denmark and Norway including the Arctic. I had
                Norwegian, Danish, Italian and American troops in my
                unit and I was then also the Winter Warfare Instructor
                for the British contingent to the Allied Command
                Europe Mobile Force that operated north of the Arctic
                Circle.

                The reason for being in the Arctic Circle? From there
                our special forces could look down into northern
                Russia.

                I was not seeing much of my two young daughters. A
                desk job was looming my way and I decided to leave
                the army and migrate to Australia. Why Australia?
                Well, I didn’t want to go back to Africa, which
                seemed politically unstable and the people I most
                liked working with in the army, were the Australian
                troops I had met in Malaya.

                I migrated to Brisbane, Australia in 1970 and started
                working for Woolworths. After management training,
                I worked at Garden City and Brookside then became
                the manager in turn of Woolworths stores at
                Paddington, George Street and Redcliff. I was also the
                first Director of FAUI Queensland (The Federation of
                Underwater Diving Instructors) and spent my spare
                time on the Great Barrier Reef. After 8 years with
                Woollies, I opted for a sea change.

                I moved with my family to Evans Head where I
                converted a convenience store into a mini
                supermarket. When IGA moved into town, I decided
                to take up beef cattle farming and bought a cattle
                property at Collins Creek Kyogle in 1990. I loved
                everything about the farm — the Charolais cattle, my
                horses, my kelpie dogs, the open air, fresh water
                creek, the freedom, the lifestyle. I also became a
                volunteer fire fighter with the Green Pigeon Brigade.
                In 2004 I sold our farm and moved to Wardell.
                My wife Jeanette and I have been married for 60 years
                and are now retired. We have two lovely married
                daughters and three fine grandchildren. We live in the
                greatest part of the world where we have been warmly
                welcomed by the Wardell community and by the
                Wardell Brigade of the Rural Fire Service. We are
                very happy here.

                Mike Rushby

                A short article sent to Jacksdale in England from Mike Rushby in Australia:

                Rushby Family

                #6253
                TracyTracy
                Participant

                  My Grandparents Kitchen

                  My grandmother used to have golden syrup in her larder, hanging on the white plastic coated storage rack that was screwed to the inside of the larder door. Mostly the larder door was left propped open with an old flat iron, so you could see the Heinz ketchup and home made picallilli (she made a particularly good picallili), the Worcester sauce and the jar of pickled onions, as you sat at the kitchen table.

                  If you were sitting to the right of the kitchen table you could see an assortment of mismatched crockery, cups and bowls, shoe cleaning brushes, and at the back, tiny tins of baked beans and big ones of plum tomatoes,  and normal sized tins of vegetable and mushroom soup.  Underneath the little shelves that housed the tins was a blue plastic washing up bowl with a few onions, some in, some out of the yellow string bag they came home from the expensive little village supermarket in.

                  There was much more to the left in the awkward triangular shape under the stairs, but you couldn’t see under there from your seat at the kitchen table.  You could see the shelf above the larder door which held an ugly china teapot of graceless modern lines, gazed with metallic silver which was wearing off in places. Beside the teapot sat a serving bowl, squat and shapely with little handles, like a flattened Greek urn, in white and reddish brown with flecks of faded gilt. A plain white teapot completed the trio, a large cylindrical one with neat vertical ridges and grooves.

                  There were two fridges under the high shallow wooden wall cupboard.  A waist high bulbous old green one with a big handle that pulled out with a clunk, and a chest high sleek white one with a small freezer at the top with a door of its own.  On the top of the fridges were biscuit and cracker tins, big black keys, pencils and brittle yellow notepads, rubber bands and aspirin value packs and a bottle of Brufen.  There was a battered old maroon spectacle case and a whicker letter rack, letters crammed in and fanning over the top.  There was always a pile of glossy advertising pamphlets and flyers on top of the fridges, of the sort that were best put straight into the tiny pedal bin.

                  My grandmother never lined the pedal bin with a used plastic bag, nor with a specially designed plastic bin liner. The bin was so small that the flip top lid was often gaping, resting on a mound of cauliflower greens and soup tins.  Behind the pedal bin, but on the outer aspect of the kitchen wall, was the big black dustbin with the rubbery lid. More often than not, the lid was thrust upwards. If Thursday when the dustbin men came was several days away, you’d wish you hadn’t put those newspapers in, or those old shoes!  You stood in the softly drizzling rain in your slippers, the rubbery sheild of a lid in your left hand and the overflowing pedal bin in the other.  The contents of the pedal bin are not going to fit into the dustbin.  You sigh, put the pedal bin and the dustbin lid down, and roll up your sleeves ~ carefully, because you’ve poked your fingers into a porridge covered teabag.  You grab the sides of the protruding black sack and heave. All being well,  the contents should settle and you should have several inches more of plastic bag above the rim of the dustbin.  Unless of course it’s a poor quality plastic bag in which case your fingernail will go through and a horizontal slash will appear just below rubbish level.  Eventually you upend the pedal bin and scrape the cigarette ash covered potato peelings into the dustbin with your fingers. By now the fibres of your Shetland wool jumper are heavy with damp, just like the fuzzy split ends that curl round your pale frowning brow.  You may push back your hair with your forearm causing the moisture to bead and trickle down your face, as you turn the brass doorknob with your palm and wrist, tea leaves and cigarette ash clinging unpleasantly to your fingers.

                  The pedal bin needs rinsing in the kitchen sink, but the sink is full of mismatched saucepans, some new in shades of harvest gold, some battered and mishapen in stainless steel and aluminium, bits of mashed potato stuck to them like concrete pebbledash. There is a pale pink octagonally ovoid shallow serving dish and a little grey soup bowl with a handle like a miniature pottery saucepan decorated with kitcheny motifs.

                  The water for the coffee bubbles in a suacepan on the cream enamelled gas cooker. My grandmother never used a kettle, although I do remember a heavy flame orange one. The little pan for boiling water had a lip for easy pouring and a black plastic handle.

                  The steam has caused the condensation on the window over the sink to race in rivulets down to the fablon coated windowsill.  The yellow gingham curtains hang limply, the left one tucked behind the back of the cooker.

                  You put the pedal bin back it it’s place below the tea towel holder, and rinse your mucky fingers under the tap. The gas water heater on the wall above you roars into life just as you turn the tap off, and disappointed, subsides.

                  As you lean over to turn the cooker knob, the heat from the oven warms your arm. The gas oven was almost always on, the oven door open with clean tea towels and sometimes large white pants folded over it to air.

                  The oven wasn’t the only heat in my grandparents kitchen. There was an electric bar fire near the red formica table which used to burn your legs. The kitchen table was extended by means of a flap at each side. When I was small I wasn’t allowed to snap the hinge underneath shut as my grandmother had pinched the skin of her palm once.

                  The electric fire was plugged into the same socket as the radio. The radio took a minute or two to warm up when you switched it on, a bulky thing with sharp seventies edges and a reddish wood effect veneer and big knobs.  The light for my grandfathers workshop behind the garage (where he made dentures) was plugged into the same socket, which had a big heavy white three way adaptor in. The plug for the washing machine was hooked by means of a bit of string onto a nail or hook so that it didn’t fall down behing the washing machine when it wasn’t plugged in. Everything was unplugged when it wasn’t in use.  Sometimes there was a shrivelled Christmas cactus on top of the radio, but it couldn’t hide the adaptor and all those plugs.

                  Above the washing machine was a rhomboid wooden wall cupboard with sliding frsoted glass doors.  It was painted creamy gold, the colour of a nicotine stained pub ceiling, and held packets of Paxo stuffing and little jars of Bovril and Marmite, packets of Bisto and a jar of improbably red Maraschino cherries.

                  The nicotine coloured cupboard on the opposite wall had half a dozen large hooks screwed under the bottom shelf. A variety of mugs and cups hung there when they weren’t in the bowl waiting to be washed up. Those cupboard doors seemed flimsy for their size, and the thin beading on the edge of one door had come unstuck at the bottom and snapped back if you caught it with your sleeve.  The doors fastened with a little click in the centre, and the bottom of the door reverberated slightly as you yanked it open. There were always crumbs in the cupboard from the numerous packets of bisucits and crackers and there was always an Allbran packet with the top folded over to squeeze it onto the shelf. The sugar bowl was in there, sticky grains like sandpaper among the biscuit crumbs.

                  Half of one of the shelves was devoted to medicines: grave looking bottles of codeine linctus with no nonsense labels,  brown glass bottles with pills for rheumatism and angina.  Often you would find a large bottle, nearly full, of Brewers yeast or vitamin supplements with a dollar price tag, souvenirs of the familys last visit.  Above the medicines you’d find a faded packet of Napolitana pasta bows or a dusty packet of muesli. My grandparents never used them but she left them in the cupboard. Perhaps the dollar price tags and foreign foods reminded her of her children.

                  If there had been a recent visit you would see monstrous jars of Sanka and Maxwell House coffee in there too, but they always used the coffee.  They liked evaporated milk in their coffee, and used tins and tins of “evap” as they called it. They would pour it over tinned fruit, or rhubard crumble or stewed apples.

                  When there was just the two of them, or when I was there as well, they’d eat at the kitchen table. The table would be covered in a white embroidered cloth and the food served in mismatched serving dishes. The cutlery was large and bent, the knife handles in varying shades of bone. My grandfathers favourite fork had the tip of each prong bent in a different direction. He reckoned it was more efficient that way to spear his meat.  He often used to chew his meat and then spit it out onto the side of his plate. Not in company, of course.  I can understand why he did that, not having eaten meat myself for so long. You could chew a piece of meat for several hours and still have a stringy lump between your cheek and your teeth.

                  My grandfather would always have a bowl of Allbran with some Froment wheat germ for his breakfast, while reading the Daily Mail at the kitchen table.  He never worse slippers, always shoes indoors,  and always wore a tie.  He had lots of ties but always wore a plain maroon one.  His shirts were always cream and buttoned at throat and cuff, and eventually started wearing shirts without detachable collars. He wore greeny grey trousers and a cardigan of the same shade most of the time, the same colour as a damp English garden.

                  The same colour as the slimy green wooden clothes pegs that I threw away and replaced with mauve and fuschia pink plastic ones.  “They’re a bit bright for up the garden, aren’t they,” he said.  He was right. I should have ignored the green peg stains on the laundry.  An English garden should be shades of moss and grassy green, rich umber soil and brick red walls weighed down with an atmosphere of dense and heavy greyish white.

                  After Grandma died and Mop had retired (I always called him Mop, nobody knows why) at 10:00am precisely Mop would  have a cup of instant coffee with evap. At lunch, a bowl of tinned vegetable soup in his special soup bowl, and a couple of Krackawheat crackers and a lump of mature Cheddar. It was a job these days to find a tasty cheddar, he’d say.

                  When he was working, and he worked until well into his seventies, he took sandwiches. Every day he had the same sandwich filling: a combination of cheese, peanut butter and marmite.  It was an unusal choice for an otherwise conventional man.  He loved my grandmothers cooking, which wasn’t brilliant but was never awful. She was always generous with the cheese in cheese sauces and the meat in meat pies. She overcooked the cauliflower, but everyone did then. She made her gravy in the roasting pan, and made onion sauce, bread sauce, parsley sauce and chestnut stuffing.  She had her own version of cosmopolitan favourites, and called her quiche a quiche when everyone was still calling it egg and bacon pie. She used to like Auntie Daphne’s ratatouille, rather exotic back then, and pronounced it Ratta Twa.  She made pizza unlike any other, with shortcrust pastry smeared with tomato puree from a tube, sprinkled with oregano and great slabs of cheddar.

                  The roast was always overdone. “We like our meat well done” she’d say. She’d walk up the garden to get fresh mint for the mint sauce and would announce with pride “these runner beans are out of the garding”. They always grew vegetables at the top of the garden, behind the lawn and the silver birch tree.  There was always a pudding: a slice of almond tart (always with home made pastry), a crumble or stewed fruit. Topped with evap, of course.

                  #6248
                  TracyTracy
                  Participant

                    Bakewell Not Eyam

                    The Elton Marshalls

                    Some years ago I read a book about Eyam, the Derbyshire village devastated by the plague in 1665, and about how the villagers quarantined themselves to prevent further spread. It was quite a story. Each year on ‘Plague Sunday’, at the end of August, residents of Eyam mark the bubonic plague epidemic that devastated their small rural community in the years 1665–6. They wear the traditional costume of the day and attend a memorial service to remember how half the village sacrificed themselves to avoid spreading the disease further.

                    My 4X great grandfather James Marshall married Ann Newton in 1792 in Elton. On a number of other people’s trees on an online ancestry site, Ann Newton was from Eyam.  Wouldn’t that have been interesting, to find ancestors from Eyam, perhaps going back to the days of the plague. Perhaps that is what the people who put Ann Newton’s birthplace as Eyam thought, without a proper look at the records.

                    But I didn’t think Ann Newton was from Eyam. I found she was from Over Haddon, near Bakewell ~ much closer to Elton than Eyam. On the marriage register, it says that James was from Elton parish, and she was from Darley parish. Her birth in 1770 says Bakewell, which was the registration district for the villages of Over Haddon and Darley. Her parents were George Newton and Dorothy Wipperley of Over Haddon,which is incidentally very near to Nether Haddon, and Haddon Hall. I visited Haddon Hall many years ago, as well as Chatsworth (and much preferred Haddon Hall).

                    I looked in the Eyam registers for Ann Newton, and found a couple of them around the time frame, but the men they married were not James Marshall.

                    Ann died in 1806 in Elton (a small village just outside Matlock) at the age of 36 within days of her newborn twins, Ann and James.  James and Ann had two sets of twins.  John and Mary were twins as well, but Mary died in 1799 at the age of three.

                    1796 baptism of twins John and Mary of James and Ann Marshall

                    Marshall baptism

                     

                    Ann’s husband James died 42 years later at the age of eighty,  in Elton in 1848. It was noted in the parish register that he was for years parish clerk.

                    James Marshall

                     

                    On the 1851 census John Marshall born in 1796, the son of James Marshall the parish clerk, was a lead miner occupying six acres in Elton, Derbyshire.

                    His son, also John, was registered on the census as a lead miner at just eight years old.

                     

                    The mining of lead was the most important industry in the Peak district of Derbyshire from Roman times until the 19th century – with only agriculture being more important for the livelihood of local people. The height of lead mining in Derbyshire came in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the evidence is still visible today – most obviously in the form of lines of hillocks from the more than 25,000 mineshafts which once existed.

                    Peak District Mines Historical Society

                    Smelting, or extracting the lead from the ore by melting it, was carried out in a small open hearth. Lead was cast in layers as each batch of ore was smelted; the blocks of lead thus produced were referred to as “pigs”. Examples of early smelting-hearths found within the county were stone lined, with one side open facing the prevailing wind to create the draught needed. The hilltops of the Matlocks would have provided very suitable conditions.

                    The miner used a tool called a mattock or a pick, and hammers and iron wedges in harder veins, to loosen the ore. They threw the ore onto ridges on each side of the vein, going deeper where the ore proved richer.

                    Many mines were very shallow and, once opened, proved too poor to develop. Benjamin Bryan cited the example of “Ember Hill, on the shoulder of Masson, above Matlock Bath” where there are hollows in the surface showing where there had been fruitless searches for lead.

                    There were small buildings, called “coes”, near each mine shaft which were used for tool storage, to provide shelter and as places for changing into working clothes. It was here that the lead was smelted and stored until ready for sale.

                    Lead is, of course, very poisonous. As miners washed lead-bearing material, great care was taken with the washing vats, which had to be covered. If cattle accidentally drank the poisoned water they would die from something called “belland”.

                    Cornish and Welsh miners introduced the practice of buddling for ore into Derbyshire about 1747.  Buddling involved washing the heaps of rubbish in the slag heaps,  the process of separating the very small particles from the dirt and spar with which they are mixed, by means of a small stream of water. This method of extraction was a major pollutant, affecting farmers and their animals (poisoned by Belland from drinking the waste water), the brooks and streams and even the River Derwent.

                    Women also worked in the mines. An unattributed account from 1829, says: “The head is much enwrapped, and the features nearly hidden in a muffling of handkerchiefs, over which is put a man’s hat, in the manner of the paysannes of Wales”. He also describes their gowns, usually red, as being “tucked up round the waist in a sort of bag, and set off by a bright green petticoat”. They also wore a man’s grey or dark blue coat and shoes with 3″ thick soles that were tied round with cords. The 1829 writer called them “complete harridans!”

                    Lead Mining in Matlock & Matlock Bath, The Andrews Pages

                    John’s wife Margaret died at the age of 42 in 1847.  I don’t know the cause of death, but perhaps it was lead poisoning.  John’s son John, despite a very early start in the lead mine, became a carter and lived to the ripe old age of 88.

                    The Pig of Lead pub, 1904:

                    The Pig of Lead 1904

                     

                    The earliest Marshall I’ve found so far is Charles, born in 1742. Charles married Rebecca Knowles, 1775-1823.  I don’t know what his occupation was but when he died in 1819 he left a not inconsiderable sum to his wife.

                    1819 Charles Marshall probate:

                    Charles Marshall Probate

                     

                     

                    There are still Marshall’s living in Elton and Matlock, not our immediate known family, but probably distantly related.  I asked a Matlock group on facebook:

                    “…there are Marshall’s still in the village. There are certainly families who live here who have done generation after generation & have many memories & stories to tell. Visit The Duke on a Friday night…”

                    The Duke, Elton:

                    Duke Elton

                    #6227
                    TracyTracy
                    Participant

                      The Scottish Connection

                      My grandfather always used to say we had some Scottish blood because his “mother was a Purdy”, and that they were from the low counties of Scotland near to the English border.

                      My mother had a Scottish hat in among the boxes of souvenirs and old photographs. In one of her recent house moves, she finally threw it away, not knowing why we had it or where it came from, and of course has since regretted it!  It probably came from one of her aunts, either Phyllis or Dorothy. Neither of them had children, and they both died in 1983. My grandfather was executor of the estate in both cases, and it’s assumed that the portraits, the many photographs, the booklet on Primitive Methodists, and the Scottish hat, all relating to his mother’s side of the family, came into his possession then. His sister Phyllis never married and was living in her parents home until she died, and is the likeliest candidate for the keeper of the family souvenirs.

                      Catherine Housley married George Purdy, and his father was Francis Purdy, the Primitive Methodist preacher.  William Purdy was the father of Francis.

                      Record searches find William Purdy was born on 16 July 1767 in Carluke, Lanarkshire, near Glasgow in Scotland. He worked for James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, and moved to Derbyshire for the purpose of installing steam driven pumps to remove the water from the collieries in the area.

                      Another descendant of Francis Purdy found the following in a book in a library in Eastwood:

                      William Purdy

                      William married a local girl, Ruth Clarke, in Duffield in Derbyshire in 1786.  William and Ruth had nine children, and the seventh was Francis who was born at West Hallam in 1795.

                      Perhaps the Scottish hat came from William Purdy, but there is another story of Scottish connections in Smalley:  Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.  Although the Purdy’s were not from Smalley, Catherine Housley was.

                      From an article on the Heanor and District Local History Society website:

                      The Jacobites in Smalley

                      Few people would readily associate the village of Smalley, situated about two miles west of Heanor, with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 – but there is a clear link.

                      During the winter of 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, the “Bonnie Prince” or “The Young Pretender”, marched south from Scotland. His troops reached Derby on 4 December, and looted the town, staying for two days before they commenced a fateful retreat as the Duke of Cumberland’s army approached.

                      While staying in Derby, or during the retreat, some of the Jacobites are said to have visited some of the nearby villages, including Smalley.

                      A history of the local aspects of this escapade was written in 1933 by L. Eardley-Simpson, entitled “Derby and the ‘45,” from which the following is an extract:

                      “The presence of a party at Smalley is attested by several local traditions and relics. Not long ago there were people living who remember to have seen at least a dozen old pikes in a room adjoining the stables at Smalley Hall, and these were stated to have been left by a party of Highlanders who came to exchange their ponies for horses belonging to the then owner, Mrs Richardson; in 1907, one of these pikes still remained. Another resident of Smalley had a claymore which was alleged to have been found on Drumhill, Breadsall Moor, while the writer of the History of Smalley himself (Reverend C. Kerry) had a magnificent Andrew Ferrara, with a guard of finely wrought iron, engraved with two heads in Tudor helmets, of the same style, he states, as the one left at Wingfield Manor, though why the outlying bands of Army should have gone so far afield, he omits to mention. Smalley is also mentioned in another strange story as to the origin of the family of Woolley of Collingham who attained more wealth and a better position in the world than some of their relatives. The story is to the effect that when the Scots who had visited Mrs Richardson’s stables were returning to Derby, they fell in with one Woolley of Smalley, a coal carrier, and impressed him with horse and cart for the conveyance of certain heavy baggage. On the retreat, the party with Woolley was surprised by some of the Elector’s troopers (the Royal army) who pursued the Scots, leaving Woolley to shift for himself. This he did, and, his suspicion that the baggage he was carrying was part of the Prince’s treasure turning out to be correct, he retired to Collingham, and spent the rest of his life there in the enjoyment of his luckily acquired gains. Another story of a similar sort was designed to explain the rise of the well-known Derbyshire family of Cox of Brailsford, but the dates by no means agree with the family pedigree, and in any event the suggestion – for it is little more – is entirely at variance with the views as to the rights of the Royal House of Stuart which were expressed by certain members of the Cox family who were alive not many years ago.”

                      A letter from Charles Kerry, dated 30 July 1903, narrates another strange twist to the tale. When the Highlanders turned up in Smalley, a large crowd, mainly women, gathered. “On a command in Gaelic, the regiment stooped, and throwing their kilts over their backs revealed to the astonished ladies and all what modesty is careful to conceal. Father, who told me, said they were not any more troubled with crowds of women.”

                      Folklore or fact? We are unlikely to know, but the Scottish artefacts in the Smalley area certainly suggest that some of the story is based on fact.

                      We are unlikely to know where that Scottish hat came from, but we did find the Scottish connection.  William Purdy’s mother was Grizel Gibson, and her mother was Grizel Murray, both of Lanarkshire in Scotland.  The name Grizel is a Scottish form of the name Griselda, and means “grey battle maiden”.  But with the exception of the name Murray, The Purdy and Gibson names are not traditionally Scottish, so there is not much of a Scottish connection after all.  But the mystery of the Scottish hat remains unsolved.

                      #6222
                      TracyTracy
                      Participant

                        George Gilman Rushby: The Cousin Who Went To Africa

                        The portrait of the woman has “mother of Catherine Housley, Smalley” written on the back, and one of the family photographs has “Francis Purdy” written on the back. My first internet search was “Catherine Housley Smalley Francis Purdy”. Easily found was the family tree of George (Mike) Rushby, on one of the genealogy websites. It seemed that it must be our family, but the African lion hunter seemed unlikely until my mother recalled her father had said that he had a cousin who went to Africa. I also noticed that the lion hunter’s middle name was Gilman ~ the name that Catherine Housley’s daughter ~ my great grandmother, Mary Ann Gilman Purdy ~ adopted, from her aunt and uncle who brought her up.

                        I tried to contact George (Mike) Rushby via the ancestry website, but got no reply. I searched for his name on Facebook and found a photo of a wildfire in a place called Wardell, in Australia, and he was credited with taking the photograph. A comment on the photo, which was a few years old, got no response, so I found a Wardell Community group on Facebook, and joined it. A very small place, population some 700 or so, and I had an immediate response on the group to my question. They knew Mike, exchanged messages, and we were able to start emailing. I was in the chair at the dentist having an exceptionally long canine root canal at the time that I got the message with his email address, and at that moment the song Down in Africa started playing.

                        Mike said it was clever of me to track him down which amused me, coming from the son of an elephant and lion hunter.  He didn’t know why his father’s middle name was Gilman, and was not aware that Catherine Housley’s sister married a Gilman.

                        Mike Rushby kindly gave me permission to include his family history research in my book.  This is the story of my grandfather George Marshall’s cousin.  A detailed account of George Gilman Rushby’s years in Africa can be found in another chapter called From Tanganyika With Love; the letters Eleanor wrote to her family.

                        George Gilman Rushby:

                        George Gilman Rushby

                         

                        The story of George Gilman Rushby 1900-1969, as told by his son Mike:

                        George Gilman Rushby:
                        Elephant hunter,poacher, prospector, farmer, forestry officer, game ranger, husband to Eleanor, and father of 6 children who now live around the world.

                        George Gilman Rushby was born in Nottingham on 28 Feb 1900 the son of Catherine Purdy and John Henry Payling Rushby. But John Henry died when his son was only one and a half years old, and George shunned his drunken bullying stepfather Frank Freer and was brought up by Gypsies who taught him how to fight and took him on regular poaching trips. His love of adventure and his ability to hunt were nurtured at an early stage of his life.
                        The family moved to Eastwood, where his mother Catherine owned and managed The Three Tuns Inn, but when his stepfather died in mysterious circumstances, his mother married a wealthy bookmaker named Gregory Simpson. He could afford to send George to Worksop College and to Rugby School. This was excellent schooling for George, but the boarding school environment, and the lack of a stable home life, contributed to his desire to go out in the world and do his own thing. When he finished school his first job was as a trainee electrician with Oaks & Co at Pye Bridge. He also worked part time as a motor cycle mechanic and as a professional boxer to raise the money for a voyage to South Africa.

                        In May 1920 George arrived in Durban destitute and, like many others, living on the beach and dependant upon the Salvation Army for a daily meal. However he soon got work as an electrical mechanic, and after a couple of months had earned enough money to make the next move North. He went to Lourenco Marques where he was appointed shift engineer for the town’s power station. However he was still restless and left the comfort of Lourenco Marques for Beira in August 1921.

                        Beira was the start point of the new railway being built from the coast to Nyasaland. George became a professional hunter providing essential meat for the gangs of construction workers building the railway. He was a self employed contractor with his own support crew of African men and began to build up a satisfactory business. However, following an incident where he had to shoot and kill a man who attacked him with a spear in middle of the night whilst he was sleeping, George left the lower Zambezi and took a paddle steamer to Nyasaland (Malawi). On his arrival in Karongo he was encouraged to shoot elephant which had reached plague proportions in the area – wrecking African homes and crops, and threatening the lives of those who opposed them.

                        His next move was to travel by canoe the five hundred kilometre length of Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika, where he hunted for a while in the Lake Rukwa area, before walking through Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) to the Congo. Hunting his way he overachieved his quota of ivory resulting in his being charged with trespass, the confiscation of his rifles, and a fine of one thousand francs. He hunted his way through the Congo to Leopoldville then on to the Portuguese enclave, near the mouth of the mighty river, where he worked as a barman in a rough and tough bar until he received a message that his old friend Lumb had found gold at Lupa near Chunya. George set sail on the next boat for Antwerp in Belgium, then crossed to England and spent a few weeks with his family in Jacksdale before returning by sea to Dar es Salaam. Arriving at the gold fields he pegged his claim and almost immediately went down with blackwater fever – an illness that used to kill three out of four within a week.

                        When he recovered from his fever, George exchanged his gold lease for a double barrelled .577 elephant rifle and took out a special elephant control licence with the Tanganyika Government. He then headed for the Congo again and poached elephant in Northern Rhodesia from a base in the Congo. He was known by the Africans as “iNyathi”, or the Buffalo, because he was the most dangerous in the long grass. After a profitable hunting expedition in his favourite hunting ground of the Kilombera River he returned to the Congo via Dar es Salaam and Mombassa. He was after the Kabalo district elephant, but hunting was restricted, so he set up his base in The Central African Republic at a place called Obo on the Congo tributary named the M’bomu River. From there he could make poaching raids into the Congo and the Upper Nile regions of the Sudan. He hunted there for two and a half years. He seldom came across other Europeans; hunters kept their own districts and guarded their own territories. But they respected one another and he made good and lasting friendships with members of that small select band of adventurers.

                        Leaving for Europe via the Congo, George enjoyed a short holiday in Jacksdale with his mother. On his return trip to East Africa he met his future bride in Cape Town. She was 24 year old Eleanor Dunbar Leslie; a high school teacher and daughter of a magistrate who spent her spare time mountaineering, racing ocean yachts, and riding horses. After a whirlwind romance, they were betrothed within 36 hours.

                        On 25 July 1930 George landed back in Dar es Salaam. He went directly to the Mbeya district to find a home. For one hundred pounds he purchased the Waizneker’s farm on the banks of the Mntshewe Stream. Eleanor, who had been delayed due to her contract as a teacher, followed in November. Her ship docked in Dar es Salaam on 7 Nov 1930, and they were married that day. At Mchewe Estate, their newly acquired farm, they lived in a tent whilst George with some help built their first home – a lovely mud-brick cottage with a thatched roof. George and Eleanor set about developing a coffee plantation out of a bush block. It was a very happy time for them. There was no electricity, no radio, and no telephone. Newspapers came from London every two months. There were a couple of neighbours within twenty miles, but visitors were seldom seen. The farm was a haven for wild life including snakes, monkeys and leopards. Eleanor had to go South all the way to Capetown for the birth of her first child Ann, but with the onset of civilisation, their first son George was born at a new German Mission hospital that had opened in Mbeya.

                        Occasionally George had to leave the farm in Eleanor’s care whilst he went off hunting to make his living. Having run the coffee plantation for five years with considerable establishment costs and as yet no return, George reluctantly started taking paying clients on hunting safaris as a “white hunter”. This was an occupation George didn’t enjoy. but it brought him an income in the days when social security didn’t exist. Taking wealthy clients on hunting trips to kill animals for trophies and for pleasure didn’t amuse George who hunted for a business and for a way of life. When one of George’s trackers was killed by a leopard that had been wounded by a careless client, George was particularly upset.
                        The coffee plantation was approaching the time of its first harvest when it was suddenly attacked by plagues of borer beetles and ring barking snails. At the same time severe hail storms shredded the crop. The pressure of the need for an income forced George back to the Lupa gold fields. He was unlucky in his gold discoveries, but luck came in a different form when he was offered a job with the Forestry Department. The offer had been made in recognition of his initiation and management of Tanganyika’s rainbow trout project. George spent most of his short time with the Forestry Department encouraging the indigenous people to conserve their native forests.

                        In November 1938 he transferred to the Game Department as Ranger for the Eastern Province of Tanganyika, and over several years was based at Nzasa near Dar es Salaam, at the old German town of Morogoro, and at lovely Lyamungu on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Then the call came for him to be transferred to Mbeya in the Southern Province for there was a serious problem in the Njombe district, and George was selected by the Department as the only man who could possibly fix the problem.

                        Over a period of several years, people were being attacked and killed by marauding man-eating lions. In the Wagingombe area alone 230 people were listed as having been killed. In the Njombe district, which covered an area about 200 km by 300 km some 1500 people had been killed. Not only was the rural population being decimated, but the morale of the survivors was so low, that many of them believed that the lions were not real. Many thought that evil witch doctors were controlling the lions, or that lion-men were changing form to kill their enemies. Indeed some wichdoctors took advantage of the disarray to settle scores and to kill for reward.

                        By hunting down and killing the man-eaters, and by showing the flesh and blood to the doubting tribes people, George was able to instil some confidence into the villagers. However the Africans attributed the return of peace and safety, not to the efforts of George Rushby, but to the reinstallation of their deposed chief Matamula Mangera who had previously been stood down for corruption. It was Matamula , in their eyes, who had called off the lions.

                        Soon after this adventure, George was appointed Deputy Game Warden for Tanganyika, and was based in Arusha. He retired in 1956 to the Njombe district where he developed a coffee plantation, and was one of the first in Tanganyika to plant tea as a major crop. However he sensed a swing in the political fortunes of his beloved Tanganyika, and so sold the plantation and settled in a cottage high on a hill overlooking the Navel Base at Simonstown in the Cape. It was whilst he was there that TV Bulpin wrote his biography “The Hunter is Death” and George wrote his book “No More The Tusker”. He died in the Cape, and his youngest son Henry scattered his ashes at the Southern most tip of Africa where the currents of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet .

                        George Gilman Rushby:

                        #6211
                        AvatarJib
                        Participant

                          Today the planets are aligned, thought Liz as she looked at the blue sky out the French door. The frills of her glitter pink Charnel bathing suit wiggled with excitement.

                          It was one of those rare days of this summer where rain wasn’t pouring somewhere in the garden. Every single day: clouds, clouds, clouds. If they weren’t above the mansion, they were above the pool. If they weren’t above the pool, they were flooding the lawn in between the mansion and the pool.

                          But today, the sun had risen in a sky free of clouds and Liz was determined to have that dip in the newly repaired swimming pool with a watermelon mojito served by Roberto in his shiny leather speedo. The pool had been half frozen half boiling for so long that they had forgotten the swimming part. Once fixed, the summer had turned into a mid season rainy weather.

                          ‘I don’t want to get wet before I get into the pool’, Liz had said to Finnley.

                          Liz looked at her pink notebook lying on the coffee table. Resisting the temptation to fill in the empty pages with gripping stories, she hopped on the patio, flounces bouncing and her goocci flip-flops clacking. With a sparkling foot, Liz tested the grass. It was dry enough, which meant she would not inadvertently walk on a slug or a snail. She particularly hated the cracking noise and the wetness afterward under her feet.

                          Roberto was bent forward. Liz frowned. He was not wearing his leather speedo. And his hands and pants were covered in green goo.

                          ‘What happened?’ she asked in front of the disaster.

                          Roberto shrugged, obviously overwhelmed by the goo.

                          ‘Green algae’, said Godfrey popping up out of nowhere with a handful of cashews. ‘The ice and fire had kept it at bay for some time. But once it was back to normal the pool was a perfect environment for their development. I already called the maintenance company. They come next week.’

                          ‘What? Next week?’

                          ‘Yes. That’s sad. It’s the season. We are not the only ones to have that problem.’

                          That said he threw a cashew in his mouth and popped back to nowhere he came from.

                          #5997

                          In reply to: Story Bored

                          TracyTracy
                          Participant

                            Board 6, Story 1

                            When Lizette came round from her lapse into unconsciousness in the medical bay, she found herself in a strangely alien earthly setting. Prune was looking for her hamsters and Finnley-8 was at a loss as to how to proceed in the unfamiliar environment.

                            Aubrey Stripling Bryson was beginning to wish he’d never unblocked the entrance to the tunnels. Two long years and he still hadn’t found Evelyn. Or the book.

                            Vincentius, in a deeply melodious voice,  reminds Arona that Yikesy is still wearing an invisibility cloak and will be difficult to find. Unperturbed, Mandrake cleans the glukenitch poo from his paws.

                            #5964

                            They walked through a labyrinth of tunnels which seemed to have been carved into a rocky mountain. The clicks and clacks of their high heels echoed in the cold silence meeting all of Sophie’s questions, leaving her wondering where they could be. Tightly held by her rompers she felt her fat mass wobbling like jelly around her skeleton. It didn’t help clear her mind which was still confused by the environment and the apparent memory loss concerning how she arrived there.

                            Sophie couldn’t tell how many turns they took before Barbara put her six fingers hand on a flat rock at shoulders height. The rock around the hand turned green and glowed for two seconds; then a big chunk of rock slid to the side revealing a well designed modern style room.

                            “Doctor, Sophie is here,” said Barbara when they entered.

                            A little man was working at his desk. At least Sophie assumed it was his desk and that he was working. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and bermudas. The computer screen he was looking at projected a greenish tint onto his face, and it made him look just like the green man icon. Sophie cackled, a little at first.

                            The Doctor’s hand tensed on the mouse and his eyebrows gathered like angry caterpillars ready to fight. He must have made a wrong move because a cascade of sound ending in a flop indicated he just died a death, most certainly on one of those facegoat addictive games.

                            That certainly didn’t help muffle Sophie’s cackle until she felt Barbara’s six fingers seizing her shoulders as if for a Vulcan nerve pinch. Sophie expected to lose consciousness, but the hand was mostly warm, except for that extra finger which was cold and buzzing. The contact of the hand upon the latex gave off little squeaky sounds that made Sophie feel uncomfortable. She swallowed her anxiety and wished for the woman to remove her hand. But as she had  noticed more than once, wishes could take time and twists before they could be fulfilled.

                            “Why do you have to ruin everything every time?” asked the Doctor. His face was now red and distorted.

                            “Every time?” said Sophie confused.

                            “Yes! You took your sleeper agent role too seriously. We couldn’t get any valuable intel and the whole doll operation was a fiasco. We almost lost the magpies. And now, your taste for uncharted drugs, which as a parenthesis I confess I admire your dedication to explore unknown territories for science… Anyway, you were all day locked up into your boudoir trying to contact me while I just needed you to look at computer screens and attend to meetings.”

                            Sophie was too shocked to believe it. How could the man be so misinformed. She never liked computers and meetings, except maybe while looking online for conspiracy theories and aliens and going to comiccons. But…

                            “Now you’re so addict to the drugs that you’re useless until you follow our rehab program.”

                            “A rehab program?” asked Sophie, her voice shaking. “But…” That certainly was the spookiest thing she had heard since she had arrived to this place, and this made her speechless, but certainly not optionless. Without thinking she tried a move she had seen in movies. She turned and threw her mass into Barbara. The two women fell on the cold floor. Sophie heard a crack before she felt the pain in her right arm. She thought she ought to have persevered in her combat training course after the first week. But life is never perfect.

                            “Suffice!” said the Doctor from above. “You’ll like it with the other guests, you’ll see. All you have to do is follow the protocol we’ll give you each day and read the documentation that Barbara will give you.”

                            Sophie tried a witty answer but the pain was too much and it ended in a desperate moan.

                            #5957

                            Nobody came at all yesterday, not to get my breakfast and leave my sandwiches for lunch and a tea flask, and the evening one didn’t come either. I didn’t have a cup of tea all day long, good job I found that bottle of sherry in the cabinet or I’d have been parched.  I found a half eaten tin of assorted biscuits left over from Christmas, and had to make do with those. Not very nice because they were all the ones I don’t like, which was why I’d left them in the first place. I wasn’t too hungry to sleep though, not after all that sherry.

                            A woman came this morning, one I hadn’t seen before.  I didn’t recognize her anyway, which doesn’t tell you much I suppose.  She seemed distracted, and did a very shoddy job, I must say, lumpy porridge, burnt toast with no jam, and she forgot to put sugar in my tea as well.

                            You just can’t get the staff these days.  No character to them anymore, just a series of faceless drones, it never used to be like that. The staff didn’t used to come and go and flit about like these lot, they were always there, as long as you could remember, part of the household.   It all changed during the war though, the horrors of servantlessness. That was a rude awakening, having to do our own cooking and laundry. I’d have given anything to see even that feckless lazy Annie Finton, even if all she did was the ironing.  The old boy turned out to have a knack for cooking and quite enjoyed it, so that was a blessing. Darned if I can remember his name though.  Truth be told, he was better than cook had ever been. He wasn’t afraid to experiment a little, diverge from the traditional.  I think the trouble with cook was that she hated cooking all along.  She never came back after the war, she got a job in a factory. Liked the freedom, she said. I ask you! No accounting for taste.

                            #5670

                            “Crocuses in meadow, Flower, Flower”, was singing Eleri. Humming was more accurate, she didn’t recall much of the lyrics, but the tune was easy to follow. She was quite fond of that popular song and liked to sing it whenever she was going to town in her flower dress floating in the wind. She had thought it nice if Gorrash woke up with a festive atmosphere. It would certainly be a shock already that so much time had passed since he was last awake. She wondered if he would remember anything from his broken time. She hadn’t talked much with him before, especially about his day-slumber time.

                            “Chestnut in the woods”, she continued. Crack, crack made the dry twigs she walked on on purpose. It made her laugh and snort. She liked playing with her environment and made it participate in her own expression, it was like she had many voices and she could hear herself everywhere. She picked up a few chestnuts because she knew Fox was crazy about them. It was a blessing that the enchanted forest would still produce them out of season.

                            When she arrived in town, Eleri didn’t waste time. She wanted costumes and props for the party, so she went directly to the Jiborium’s Emporium where she was sure to find everything she needed, and more. There was a crowd blocking the entrance, but it didn’t deter her from her idea. She elbowed her way up to the door where a man in a wheelchair was complaining about having not enough room to go in. Still in a jolly mood, Eleri found it funny that the man who took so much space with his cumbersome vehicle was asking for more room.

                            “Move already”, she joined her voice to the man’s complaint and managed, Flove knows how to make the crowd part away enough so they could both enter the shop.

                            “Thanks, young lady”, said the grumpy man. “It’s a hassle sometimes you know to move in this town. People with good health they do not realise.”

                            “Oh! I know”, said Eleri. “My ankle just got better, but it was such a pain to move. I would have loved to have a chair like yours to move around, but alas I live in the forest most of the time and I’m not sure the chair would last long in there.”

                            “Oh! but it would! They have the cross-country model here, on the fourth floor. Powered by lightning battery.”

                            “Really?” said Eleri more to herself than for the man. Her mind was already elsewhere. “Thanks!” She kissed the grumpy man on the forehead and left, thinking of costumes and confetti. A cross-country wheelchair would be nice to bring back all of those. They might even need it for Gorrash if he needed recovery time.

                            #5600
                            TracyTracy
                            Participant

                              June

                              June was born in Glasgow, Kentucky in 1957. Her real name is not known yet. She comes from a military family who used to move around a lot, hence, never really felt home in any place, and kept largely her distances with relatives. At a young age of 17 (1974), she eloped with her then fiancé and did a tour of the USA on a shoestring, aiming to stow away on a Californian ship to reach Hawaii. We find her years later, happily divorced, and sought in 5 states for various charges, primarily identity theft and credit card fraud. A chance encounter with April led her to her next scam: registering as an experienced nanny “au pair”, coming from Glasgow, Scotland. She didn’t manage to stay too long at her employs, yet a fortunate event led her to apply and be selected for the nursing of the President’s precocious baby. She loathes all that the President represents, but likes a challenge, and the irony of being a wanted con-artist on the run under the nose of the Secret Services.

                              #5357

                              “Isn’t it a pretty loo?” Glynis was marveling at the marble work, and the exquisite boiseries. “Master Guilbert really outdid himself.” Fox opined.

                              The jinx on the cottage loo was finally lifted, and not before the hiemal cold had settled in, right before the Sol Invictus festivities.

                              Meanwhile, they’ve had occasional updates from Rukshan, who was exploring the Land of the Giants. He’d mentioned in his last telebat echoing that he’d found the elusive Master creator of Gorrash, and had hope for the dwarf. The magic binding the stones was strong he’s said, although some additional magic would help speed up the recovery process which otherwise would take probably centuries if not millennia.

                              Glynis had looked at the requirements; it only said

                              ‘strong magic, born from pain, hardened in gems
                              – dissolve in pink clay, mix well and apply generously’
                              .

                              None of her magic had seemed to fit. Pain, she’d had plenty, but her magic was born from the water element, emotions, plants and potions. She went to the nearby Library, their restricted section of applied magic was scarce, nothing really applicable there. Honestly, if she’d known her whereabouts, it would have been a task better suited to Eleri. Her kind of area of expertise with concrete and iron work and stone paints was a bit more unpredictable though; it could end up do more damage to Gorrash’s continuity than else; she’d quickly put that impetuous idea to rest.

                              Glynis was still mulling over, thinking about finding a solution when she noticed a gaunt figure was at the door. It took her a few seconds to realize it wasn’t a stranger, but a familiar friend. Rukshan had returned, although verily worn down by his travails, with a full grown beard that gave him a seriouser look. Without thinking, she went to hug him. Such unusual display of affection did surprise the Fae who was beeming.

                              He smiled widely at Glynis and showed her an unusually large ampoule: “I’ve found the kind of magic our friend needs. These three Giant’s gallstones weren’t a picnic to obtain, I can tell you.”

                              “I can’t wait to hear all about this exciting story.” interrupted Eleri.

                              #5049
                              TracyTracy
                              Participant

                                Aunt Idle:

                                Bert tells me it’s new years eve today.  Looking forward to the champagne and fireworks I said to him. Joking of course.  The wonder is that I even remembered what such things were.  Bert looked sharply at me then, bit strange it was.  Then he relaxed a bit and had a peculiar secretive smile on his face.  Of course that’s easy to say in retrospect, that he had a secretive smile on his face. But little did I know at the time.

                                I’d been in the doldrums ever since that hot air balloon thing didn’t materialize into anything. I told Bert about it, and he went off down to the Brundy place, gone ages he was,  and came back saying it was nothing.  He had an odd spring in his step though which puzzled me a bit at the time, but I was so deflated after the excitement of thinking something might actually happen for a change, and when it didn’t, well, I couldn’t be bothered to think about Bert acting funny.

                                When Bert had a shower and asked me to iron ~ iron, I ask you! ~ his best shirt, I was more depressed than ever. If Bert goes mad as well, then where will we be? I was already wondering if I’d started hallucinating and if that was a sign of madness.  I’d been catching glimpses of things out of the corner of my eye all week.  I’d even heard stifled giggles.  It was unnerving, I tell you.

                                When Bert suggested I have a shower as well, and asked if I still had that red sequinned dress I started to worry.  What was he thinking? Then ~ get this ~ he asked if I had red knickers on.

                                Bert! I said, aghast.

                                He mumbled something about it being a tradition in Spain to wear red underpants on new years eve, and surely I hadn’t forgotten?

                                I gently reminded him that we weren’t in Spain, and he said, You’re damn right this isn’t Kansas anymore, hooted with laughter, and fairly skipped out of the room.

                                I sat there for a bit pondering all this and then thought, Hell, why not? Why not wear red knickers and that old red sequinned dress?  Why not have a shower as well?

                                And much to my surprise I found I was humming a song and smiling to myself as I went to find that old red dress.

                                #4862

                                “Init been quiet as being caught in the doldruffs, my Mavis?” Sha was sandwiched in the cryogenic apparatus like a tartine in a toaster, with her ample person protruding like cheese squeezed in too much.

                                The door flung open.

                                “Good Lord, aren’t them splendigious, those little tarts, meringue and all.”

                                Berenice, Barb’s niece, trotting in his steps, taking her role as the new temp assistant very seriously was about to voice a response that he quickly tutted away. “I wasn’t talking to you.”

                                “Took me a while to find out the thread though, buried through all that poubelle creative thinking and monologues, and bla and bla. Action all gone missing safe for a little excitement in Tik…” He stopped, looking around suspiciously. “They’re here, I know. Stop it, now. Hey. Shut up!”

                                He turned to Berenice. “I wasn’t talking to you. Who are you by the way? Has Liz or Lucinda written you in?”

                                Sha, and Glo, and Mavis, all squeezed in the cryotanks were not wasting a drop of the show.

                                “He’s been acting all strange, since he cracked that red crystal.”
                                “Shht, Glo. You don’t want him to get mad and stop all our beauty treatment. I can feel my skin tighten and dewrinkle.”
                                “T’is like ironing, fussure. Some steam and a good hot iron to remove the wrinkles.”
                                “Ahahah, wrinkles yourself, they’re more like crevices, hihihi!”
                                “But first, nuffin like a ice treatment to tighten the glutes.”
                                “Oh uhuh, haha, she said glutes like a snotty beauty specialist. Next she’ll say we need to do Pontius Pilates…”

                                Berenice couldn’t help herself. She blurted out in one quick sentence “But what are you planning to do with them, Doctor?”

                                He paused a moment his conversation with the invisible guests then turned nonchalently at B.

                                “But just… perfecting them, sweet thing. Oh, and love what you did with the beehive.”

                                #4847
                                F LoveF Love
                                Participant

                                  “Here you are then,” said the driver. They were parked outside of an imposing iron gate with a large padlock. “This is as far as I can take you. I dont have authority to go any further.”

                                  “Authority? You mean this is it?” said Maeve. “All I can see are trees.”

                                  “Usually there is someone here to open the gate when visitors arrive. Must be running late. That’s not like them.”

                                  “Oh,” said Maeve. “They aren’t actually expecting us. I mean, we didn’t make an appointment or anything.”

                                  The driver shook his head and laughed. He turned his head to look at them. “I might as well take you back then. You don’t get in here without being expected.” He started the engine.

                                  “Wait!” said Maeve. “We haven’t come all this way to give up. Have we?” She looked at Shaun-Paul who, after a moment of hesitation, nodded.

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